Access to information among young people in rural areas is almost on a par with that of their urban counterparts thanks of the proliferation of budget smartphones.
Young upcountry Thais are quickly adopting the smartphone habits. THANARAK KHOONTON
A study by McCann Worldgroup Thailand showed the rural young generation can easily read information and watch video content by using a basic internet-enabled mobile that features a camera and Facebook in a price range of 3,000 to 5,000 baht.
The study was held in August in Khon Kaen province, with 80 respondents aged 17-23.
It was aimed at discovering the differences between young people in rural and urban areas.
Urbanisation is on the rise nationwide despite rural areas being dominated by farm households.
Varidda Voraakom, chief innovation officer at McCann, said the new generation has become a key change agent connecting rural areas to urban areas.
She said Generation Y has changed its priority need to smartphones from motorcycles.
GfK research shows Thailand's mobile market grew significantly in the first four months of this year.
Growth was fuelled mainly by a 334% surge in the Northeast.
Laptop computers are also regarded as a must-have educational tool that rural parents should provide.
A survey of internet user profiles by the Electronic Transactions Development Agency in May showed 67.9% of Thais access the internet via laptops.
That was almost double the figure last year.
This shows laptops are becoming a new screen for Gen Y in rural provinces.
These young people access the internet via public WiFi, mostly in temples, schools and government offices.
Facebook is their favourite communication platform to express their self-esteem, followed by YouTube, Socialcam and Instagram.
These social media have become a hub of content for entertainment and digital information.
"The rural Gen Ys need a space to express their identity. That's why communication platforms are proliferating in the country, especially Socialcam," Ms Varidda said.
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