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Central Asian Visions of IT Boom Look Distant

Young women in Andijan, Uzbekistan, use their mobile phones to call and send messages in July 2013. While smart phone users in most Central Asian countries and Russia choose WhatsApp as their primary messaging app, Uzbekistan users find the app slow and cumbersome, which many believe is due to government attempts to intercept the digital traffic. (Photo: Dean C.K. Cox)

Social media websites and messenger services have fast become a ubiquitous fixture in Central Asia, but efforts to develop local variations are making little headway.
 
When it comes to messengers, the preference in Kazakhstan is for WhatsApp. According to marketing company Mobile Media Kazakhstan, there are around 1.1 million users of the service in the country.
 
Research by Internet analytics company SimilarWeb yielded similar findings and placed WhatsApp at the top of the popularity rankings for Android-based devices in Kazakhstan, Russia and Kyrgyzstan as well. In Uzbekistan, however, it is Telegram that leads the pack.
 
The popularity of this technology has prompted local developers to come up with their own versions.
 

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Aktan Rysaliev is a pseudonym for a journalist working in Almaty, Kazakhstan.

Central Asian Visions of IT Boom Look Distant

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