High Hopes for OpenWeb.Asia

Being part of the new OpenWeb.Asia Workgroup, I’d like to do my bit to help not just readers of techblog86, but the entire Asian Web 2.0 world.

Right now, Asia is still — unreachable to the masses. The main problem here has something to do with language. Except for in probably Hong Kong, Singapore and Australia, English is not what they speak locally. This creates the odd and yet totally understandable situation where the local Web is abuzz with — well, buzz, pardon the pun, and yet the outsiders are left totally clueless as to what’s happening on the inside. Regardless if it’s in Beijing, Bali, Busan, or Bangor Seri Begawan.

There’s also this thing about stereotypes that we might want to — you know, demystify. China is shrouded mystery — our exports are more a la Mao, Great Wall, farmer hats than Xiaonei, the Mozart Line in the Beijing Subway System, or indeed, the stuff you use every day (look out for that increasingly ubiquitous refrain MADE IN CHINA). Japan is still very much a bullet-train, nearly-robotic nation with kids going crazy on mobile phones. To the Chinese, even we have local stereotypes of the Koreans (those in the south, that is): a bit too much Da Chang Jin and a showering of Korean pop star ads on bus stops has gotten China into hanliu, or “Korean wave” mode.

For “tech nations” in Asia, it’s probably only Japan coming out with anything “big”. Xiaonei is very big in China, but nowhere else. Daum is a Korean household name, but outside the Korean peninsula, it’s probably mistaken for Daim, a brand of chocolate in Europe.

This world we’re living in is increasingly wired up — more and more. It’s time for people to dump stereotypes and look at each nation in close-up, and at face value. I think OpenWeb.Asia has what it takes to get people excited about real developments in the Asian Web 2.0 arena.

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