The Digitalization Process In West Papua Is Spreading At A Fast Rate And We Must Be Ready To Adapt Or We Will Be Left Behind.
The 2020 period was not a good time for everyone in the world. Due to the pandemic, most of us were forced to undergo a big change in our lives. Many companies were shut down due to the economic meltdown because of the Covid-19 virus. However, the pandemic also brought positive changes to the economy’s structure, which is the rapid push of digitalization. Here we will discuss how digitalization advanced during the pandemic and how it changed cities such as West Papua for the better.
The Progress of Going Digital
Digitalization was already a thing even before the pandemic hit, but we had to adaptfaster after it happened. We experienced a major shift in our lifestyles where our movement was limited because we feared going outside for fear of the virus and couldn’t do all the daily tasks we used to do. This included buying groceries, going to school, or shopping for food. To solve this problem, we had to resort to online platforms. Of course, we would need smartphones and the Internet to access these features.
The sudden change gave rise to digital trends all over the world. Based on a report by We Are Social, the number of unique mobile phone users in 2021 reached 5.22 billion, up 1.8% (93 million) from the previous year. In contrast, Internet users reached 4.66 billion, up 7.3% (316 million) from the prior year. The numbers signify a major boost to Internet traffic and the transition to a digital age.
Spread of Digitalization in West Papua
Authority figures around the world are rallying all their attention to improve the infrastructure and spread of the new digital economy. The governor of West Papua is currently working together with various parties to form a team dedicated to accelerating and expanding regional digitalization.
Their main focus is to support the digital economy by making QRIS digital payments more accessible to the West Papua people to create more transparent and more structured transactions. It allows people to make transactions in public markets safely without using physical money, which is more prone to spread the Covid-19 virus. Also, the QRIS digital payments enable people to do transactions in E-commerce marketplaces from the comfort of their homes. These efforts increase the number of purchases made; therefore, the local businesses will gain more earnings.
E-Commerce is currently a big thing in West Papua. In 2021, we can see the E-Commerce transactions growing 77.73% YoY, which is a very significant jump. The number shows that more people are open to using digital payments and online shopping. E-Commerce marketplaces such as Tokopedia and Shopee offer a lot of opportunities for SMEs to sell their products online and allow them to reach national markets.
We can see that E-Commerce marketplaces are becoming a more common thing. More and more SMEs are transitioning from offline to online because of the comfort and benefits it provides for them. Using E-Commerce to purchase a product is very convenient. With just one click, you have access to over 100 million different products from all over the country and there are many promos offered to you.
The Blockers of Digitalization
Even though digitalization is very much present in West Papua, a few factors prevent it from being more adopted. One of the reasons is the limitations of digital payments caused because more than 50% of the population is still unbanked. The logistics cost is also very high compared to large cities like Jakarta, which are more accessible. Some people are still avoiding digital products simply because they don’t understand and trust the system. They would prefer to pay with cash on delivery rather than digital payments, which is still happening in many parts of the area.
Whether we like it or not, digitalization will be a big part of our daily lives. We can already see it happening in West Papua and the rest of the world. A structural change has occurred and we can no longer ignore the ongoing digital trend happening all around. Even governments everywhere are pushing for better infrastructures and systems to support this new ecosystem.
Now we buy our products from E-commerce marketplaces, we do our school and work meetings using zoom. Furthermore, many other industries are riding the digital wave. These are just some of the common examples which we have experienced and in the future, more industries are sure to follow suit and embrace the digital trends.