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Mobile Internet keeps Tibet in touch

(Xinhua) Updated: 2014-03-15 09:32

Mobile Internet keeps Tibet in touch

Mobile Internet keeps Tibet in touch

Tibet, on the "roof of the world," is coming closer to the outside world through the Internet and smart mobile devices.

"The living Buddha and eminent lamas are paying the highest attention to online news on the missing flight," said Tob Chung, 38, a lama at Tashihunpo Monastery, the seat of the Panchen Lamas in Xigaze. That lamas surf the Internet on their smart phones to catch up with the latest news comes as something of a surprise.

Most of the younger lamas in the monastery have mobile phones with web capabilities. They study, search for information, network and chat. Messaging app WeChat is very popular among spiritual scholars.

"Thanks to the smart phone and Internet, we are in close contact with the outside world," he said.

Tibet has every opportunity to make a quantum leap in development through the mobile Internet, thanks to elimination of reception blind spots in the vast, sparsely populated wilderness.

At the end of 2013, there were over 2 million people online in Tibet, more than two thirds of the population, according to the Communication Administration of Tibet. Mobile Internet use passed 50 percent early last year.

There is no shortage of scientific research going on in Tibet in various fields. Keeping up with the latest achievements and communicating with peers are just as possible over 3 kilometers above sea level as anywhere else, said Cewang Rinzin, a doctor at the People's Hospital in Tibet's northern Nagqu Prefecture.

Following the global trend for advanced healthcare software, residents of Tibet can monitor their health through the mobile terminals in their pocket. It is a great help for doctors to have more data on their patients, Cewang Rinzin said, no matter whether they are members of Lhasa's business community or herdsmen from the valleys.

"We are now living lives inseparable from the Internet," said Zhaxi Yanggim, 33, deputy township head from Shannan Prefecture.

Zhaxi, of the Lhoba ethnic group, is considering setting up a chat group with the cadres in her township.

"Work will be better as information will be passed to all of them instantly and our services to the people will improve," she said.

Just like any other young people, Zhaxi is a fan of online shopping for books, fashion and home supplies. She likes "more choice for a fair price".

On last year's Singles Day (Nov 11), Tibetans spent more than 47 million yuan ($7.7 million) at Taobao, China's largest online store, almost double that of 2012.

The mobile Internet is not just about research and shopping. Some Tibetan young people use WeChat to promote charity events through their "circle of friends" on the popular app.

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