Tech vs. Trees (BRIC Edition): China engineers digital vs. print showdown, large populations of Brazil and India switch on to e-readers and online ads, Lamborghini targets tech-savvy bling lovers in Russia

LOS ANGELES , June 15, 2012 () – Trees: China wants over a billion dead-tree-edition readers by 2015

If China succeeds in achieving one of its goals in the current five-year plan, 80% of its more than 1.3 billion residents will read books or periodicals by 2015. To accommodate that target, China details in its 12th Five-Year Plan period (2011-2015) that the nation will “accelerate the construction of farmers' libraries, and urban and rural newspaper reading boards.” The plan also says “by 2015, each Chinese citizen will have, on average, 5.8 books and 3.1 periodicals every year; every 1,000 people will have 100 daily newspapers; every 10,000 people will share 1.3 publication outlets.” That can only be good news for the paper, publishing and printing sectors, and promise of their growth is affirmed by market research firm IBISWorld’s report that the “book publishing industry in China is set to generate revenue of $9.5 billion in 2012, up 3.1% from 2011.” According to the report, “textbooks continue to account for the largest share of industry revenue.”

Tech: China also aims for 585 million digital content consumers

In contrast to China’s five-year goal of ensuring 80% of the population reads a book or a newspaper, the government also wants more than 45% of its population to have online access by 2015. The plan calls for more than 370 million fixed broadband ports, internet connection speed for urban households of 20 Mb/s and 4 Mb/s for rural households. To help achieve these goals, the plan also calls for fiber optic connections covering 200 million households. China also envisions establishing wireless broadband cities and gradually bringing rural areas up to speed on Internet access. For a nation of more than 1.3 billion people, 45% connected to the internet will result in a 585 million pairs of eyes scanning digital content on PCs, tablet and smartphones—a sizeable market if all goes according to plan.

Tech: E-books trending in Brazil and India, but hampered by piracy in Russia

Almost a quarter of Americans have read an e-book but in India and Brazil the figures are only 2% and 7%, respectively, which is is one reason U.S. publishers are eyeing these markets eagerly, according to Digital Book World. Another reason is the sheer potential for e-book sales in those heavily-populated countries. In India, for example, a 2% penetration rate is equivalent to 25 million readers. Similarly, Brazil can claim about 15 million e-book afficionados. These raw numbers alone are enough to make India and Brazil the world’s second- and third-largest e-book markets behind the U.S. with its 60 million e-book buyers. Increasing the penetration of e-books in India to just 5% would propel that country past the U.S. as the largest global e-book market. Russia could prove to be a harder country to crack for publishers, however. It has also seen its e-book sales surge, by 12-fold to 135 million rubles (US$4.5 million) in 2011, but rampant piracy has stymied growth, according to Russia Beyond The Headlines. The share of illegal e-book downloads in Russia has soared to 90%, resulting in lost annual sales of several billion rubles, compared with a piracy rate of 60% in Germany, 46% in the U.S. and 29% in the U.K.

Tech + Trees: Online ads surge in India and Brazil, but print still thrives in India

Advertisers in India are flocking online but, unlike their Western counterparts, they have yet to give up on print, according to eMarketer. Digital advertising in India will increase from under $320 million in 2011 to $1.21 billion in 2016, a CAGR of 29.9%, e-Marketer reported, and double-digit growth is also predicted for other advertising media during that period. Print ad spending will increase at a CAGR of 11.5%, TV ads by 14.7%. and radio by 20.7%. In Brazil, online ad spending is expected to account for 13.7% of all advertising spending in 2012, up from 11.0% last year, figures highlighting how online advertising growth has been more than three times as fast as total ad spending -- not surprising considering a projected 42% of Brazil’s population, or 86.4 million people, will be Internet users by the end of 2012.

Tech: Lamborghini targets Russia for new US$2,300 tablet

Lamborghini is diversifying its luxury brand to include a line of mobile devices in the Russian market, equipped with a price tag to match the Italian car maker’s high-end name. The Lamborghini L2800 Android tablet is retailed at 75,000 rubles (US$2,291) and the TL700 Android smartphone comes in at 90,000 rubles ($2,760), WebProNews reported. The 9.7-inch tablet features a Qualcomm processor with a 1.2 GHz frequency, 512 MB RAM and 4GB of internal memory, two cameras and a 7500 mAh battery, India reported. Bloggers and tech reporters have widely derided the pricey devices, with one calling it “crappy” and “absolute trash” but conceded it “comes in a nice box,” while another commented that the tablet “is all about status rather than performance.”

Tech + Trees: India’s growth in mobile Internet, newspapers among the world’s fastest

India will surge in growth for both digital and print in the next few years, making it among the world’s fastest market, reported PricewaterhouseCoopers. Amid rapid growth in digital, India will still see its newspaper publishing grow by 9.6% CAGR by 2016, just behind Argentina at 11.9% CAGR and Indonesia 11.2% CAGR. In comparison, U.S. is expected to decline 1.4% CAGR by 2016. However, India will become the fastest growth market for mobile Internet by surging 50.8% CAGR in 2016 compared with 36.5% CAGR worldwide to US$24.5 billion with a reach of 2.9 billion people.

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