Big Data Shifting to the Emerging World


For those of you who have been following the annual EMC/IDC Digital Universe study over the last six years, this year the media focused on some new interesting angles following its launch on December 11th.

Chris Roche, the regional director at Greenplum, the data analytics division of EMC, appeared on CNBC Europe’s news programme The Worldwide Exchange where he discussed the massive shift in where data will be produced.  Chris explained that the study “Big Data, Bigger Digital Shadows, and Biggest Growth in the Far East”, which measures all of the digital data created, replicated and consumed each year worldwide, found that a geographic role-reversal is just around the corner. The study predicts that although the digital universe has in the past been a developed-world phenomenon, we are currently on the verge of a shift as the population of the emerging markets begins to cast a longer shadow. Chris explained that 62% of data will be attributed to the emerging markets by 2020.

The Digital Universe study showed that, whilst emerging markets accounted for 23% of the digital universe as recently as 2010, their share is already up to 36% in 2012. The current global breakdown of the digital universe is:

  • U.S. – 32%
  • Western Europe – 19%
  •  China – 13%
  • India – 4%
  • Rest of the world – 32%

Yet by 2020, China alone is expected to generate 22% of the world’s data.

Elsewhere in the media, the Financial Times focused on what is known as the ‘Big Data Gap’ – the huge untapped opportunity offered to organisations through big data. As only a small fraction of data generated daily by people and machines is being analysed little is known about it. The study estimates that just 0.5% of the world’s data is being analysed. This presents a business opportunity like no other, with the potential to create lucrative new revenue streams and real, incremental growth.


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