Country Snapshot : Kazakhstan

Marc Jarrett
A few years ago, most people were scarcely aware it its existence, but that is no more, as ‘Borat’ has managed to move Kazakhstan into our collective consciousness.

It is the world’s ninth largest country and covers an area larger than all of the countries in Western Europe combined; and yet has a population of only about 15.2 million.

Kazakhstan is the world’s largest landlocked country; and is bordered by Russia, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and China. The capital is Astana.

According to, 1,247,000 people, or 8.2 percent of the population, are already online. Usage growth from 2000-2007 was an impressive 1,681 percent, with plenty of room of continued exponential growth.

In tandem with the above, credit card ownership is set to dramatically increase in the next few years, with several major banks aggressively promoting the virtues of plastic to this virgin market.

As with so many developing countries, the mobile cell phone network is vastly superior to its fixed-line cousin.

So far, we have paid $2,637.49 to webmasters who have sold passwords to surfers from there, and we expect to see the figure rise dramatically as the market matures.

Whilst not the official state language, Russian is more widely understood there than English, which is why we serve a Russian call-to-action to surfers from Kazakhstan who wish to pay for web content by means of their phone – and we plan to add Kazakh later this year.

As some markets in the developed world are beginning to show signs of having reached critical mass, countries like Kazakhstan represent an enormous opportunity for content owners to start making some serious money from the hot new Asian growth markets.

With this in mind, we are inviting all our partners to advertise their websites free on a new portal that we will be advertising extensively via the Hotbird TV satellite, whose footprint rather conveniently includes Borat’s home country of Kazakhstan.