Wow, People In Japan Buy Stuff On Their Phones

It’s continually amazing how the Western media is continually amazed that people in places like Japan and South Korea use their phones for all sorts of wacky stuff besides making voice calls. Now there’s news that yes, people in Japan buy physical goods with their phones. As usual, the story focuses on the supposed wow factor without going into any of the real reasons why these things happen. There’s something to be said, of course, for the advanced technologies Asian operators come up with and implement, but a significant reason is that mobile phones act as PC replacements for a good chunk of users in the region. But more importantly, carriers like NTT DoCoMo take a much less aggressive stance than many Western operators, and really shine at creating platforms and ecosystems where third-party providers can benefit, like with its payment systems. Instead of trying to stick its fingers in every part of the value chain and keep the vast majority of any revenues generated to itself, it acts as a facilitator to make it possible for outside developers and content providers to create services that people actually want to use, and keeping its revenue share at a level that encourages outside providers to do so.

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