See the e-commerce opportunities in the unified language market from the top ten languages on Facebook

2019-07-18 09:11:00


Reprinted from cifnews ePandaMENA

Translated by Sultan Mehmood

There are more than 3,000 national languages in the world, and about 100 languages are used by more than 10 million people. There are 13 languages with more than 50 million languages: English, Chinese, Hindi, Russian, Spanish, German, Japanese, French, Indonesian, Portuguese, Bangladeshi, Italian and Arabic.

In terms of the number of countries that are defined as official or lingua franca, English is the first (about 44 countries), French is second (about 31 countries), and Spanish is third (about 22 countries). There are five official languages that are designated as the United Nations: Chinese, English, Russian, French, and Spanish.

The most populous is Chinese and English, followed by Hindi, Spanish, Russian, French, German, Bengali, Arabic, Portuguese, Japanese, and Indonesian.

We all know that the unified language is the "fertile land" of Internet development. Facing the rich world language, "global interconnection" does not seem to have technical difficulties, but also language barriers. Compared with WiFi, the bigger obstacle should be, "This page is XX, do you need translation?"

The content of the Internet is dominated by English. According to statistics, 55% of the top 10 million websites with the most traffic use English. Although there are many people who speak Chinese in the world, Chinese does not occupy a dominant position on the Internet. In addition, like Hindi, Arabic and Bengali, these three languages are the mother tongue of more than 700 million people (accounting for one-tenth of the global population), but their use on the Internet is much less than one-tenth. (The pages in these three languages and other languages account for only 11.4% of the vast Internet pages.)


Cross-border e-commerce, if you want to be deeply localized, it is necessary to use a localized language that consumers are familiar with. It can be imagined that an English e-commerce website does not have traffic in China. It is no longer possible to use an English website to collect global e-commerce users.

The most commonly used languages on Facebook are English, Spanish, Portuguese, French, Indonesian, Turkish, German, Italian, Arabic, and Chinese.

English is undoubtedly the number one, and Spanish is the second most popular. The growth rate of various languages is even different. Portuguese has the fastest growth rate and has risen eight times in two years.

English and Spanish are the most popular if ranked by number of users.

Let's take a look at the e-commerce opportunities in emerging markets covered by the world's mainstream languages:


English has an official language of more than 1 billion people, 73 countries as the official language, North America, the United States, Canada, Europe, the United Kingdom, Oceania Australia, Asia, India, and more than half of Africa, the English language is the official language. From the territory of the English-speaking countries, it is undoubtedly the first.

From the economy of the English-speaking countries, it is also the first. In addition to a slightly smaller population than Chinese, English is a well-deserved world first language.

In the English market, in addition to North America, Europe and Australia, there are 23 African countries with English as the official language. Among the major countries including South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana, Tanzania, Ethiopia and other markets, it is worthy of attention from cross-border e-commerce.

The largest e-commerce platform in Africa is the Rocket Internet and the African telecommunications operator MTN and MIC incubating e-commerce platform Jumia. At the same time, e-commerce platforms such as Kilimall and KikuU, which were founded by entrepreneurs with Chinese background, are gradually developing.

In 2017, African e-commerce market revenue was $16.5 billion, and according to research firm Statista, it will reach $29 billion by 2022. 40% of e-commerce companies in Africa are headquartered in Nigeria, and the Disrupt Africa report also pointed out that up to 70% of e-commerce startups in Africa are not profitable.



French belongs to the independent language of the Indo-European Romance family. French is the official language of many regions or organizations (eg United Nations, European Union). Due to the historical reasons of the French colonies, parts of Canada, French colonies in Africa, and Belgian colonies all use French as the official language.

Major markets in the French-speaking region:

Canada (Quebec), Haiti, America

Switzerland, Belgium, Luxembourg, Monaco in Europe

Middle East and North Africa, Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria

20 countries in Côte d'Ivoire, Congo, Mauritius, etc. in Africa

The economic development of the French-speaking African countries is far less than that of the English-speaking African region. However, due to the large population size, a number of e-commerce platforms with the characteristics of “Francophile” regions have emerged in the French-speaking African region to sell French hot products mainly.

Among the seven countries in Africa that are conducive to e-commerce development, the Internet Group (Africa Internet Group) ranked Morocco third. Morocco is the financial center of Africa, a gathering place, for tourism and economic activities in North Africa, Marjane, Hmizate, Kitea Geant, Jumia, Kongga, Mall of Africa and so on, and a Holy Land of e-commerce waiting to be developed.



There are about 500 million Spanish speakers, and 23 countries are the official languages and the third largest language in the world. In addition to the Spain itself, Spanish is the official language in Mexico in Central America and Argentina in South America.

In addition, there are many people who speak Spanish in other countries in the world. The first language in the United States is English, and the second language is Spanish. From various degrees, it is an upgraded version of Portuguese.

In addition to Spain, the main countries using Spanish are Argentina, Mexico, Colombia, Peru, and Venezuela.

At present, Spain is Alibaba’s cross-border export platform AliExpress in the world's third largest national market, AliExpress has become Spain's largest cross-border platform. The Spanish-speaking region contains many countries. With the rise of individual Latin American regions such as Brazil and Argentina, the region is becoming an important target for cross-border e-commerce.

At present, Argentina has become the fastest growing e-commerce market in Latin America, with an annual growth rate of 29%. The largest e-commerce website in Latin America, Mercado Libre, was born here. It is expected that by 2019, the country’s e-commerce market share will be increased from 8.9% of the total sales to 14.6%.




More than 200 million people around the world have positioned Portuguese as the official language, mostly in the former colonies of Portugal. These include Brazil, an emerging powerhouse, as well as countries such as Angola and Guinea in Africa. Many people may not know that Macau, China, still locates Portuguese as one of the official languages.

The status of Portuguese today is not much related to the present country of Portugal. It is only the epitome of the pirate country conquering the earth hundreds of years ago.

Brazil's main market, with a total area of 8.54 million square meters, ranks fifth in the world with a total population of 202 million. With abundant natural resources and a complete industrial base, the GDP is ranked first in South America, the seventh largest economy in the world, and one of the BRICS countries.

Brazil was once regarded as a dark horse in the cross-border e-commerce market, with a population of over 210 million. Internet users are over half of the total population, with high Internet usage and smartphone usage. Brazil is slowly recovering from the worst recession. The Brazilian market is increasingly attractive to China.

The Mercado Libre platform is the largest e-commerce platform in Latin America, with more than 50% of the market in Brazil. Other cross-border shopping platforms such as AliExpress, eBay, and Wish all have a place in Brazil. According to statistics, it is estimated that in 2018, e-commerce sales in Brazil will reach 545.33 billion US dollars, becoming the world's tenth largest retail e-commerce market.



Arabic belongs to the Semitic language family, which uses Arabic letters, mainly in the Middle East and North Africa. It is now the official language of 22 Arab countries and 4 international organizations. There are more than 200 million people who speak Arabic as their mother tongue.

Arabic is the religious language of Islam, and the total number of users worldwide has exceeded 400 million. Arabic dialects are numerous and varied, and standard Arabic is based on the Islam’s holy book, call the Qur'an.


The best markets in the Arabic market are the six Gulf States: Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain, Oman, Kuwait and Qatar.

The mainstream e-commerce platforms in the Arabic market are: was established in 2005 and was acquired by Amazon in March 2017. It is currently the largest e-commerce platform in the Middle East. :

Jollychic's Chinese e-commerce platform is currently the largest e-commerce platform in Saudi Arabia. The e-commerce platform created by the Middle East's local rich Arabar, currently operating in the UAE and Saudi Arabia, is growing rapidly.


Hindi and Urdu

Hindi and Urdu are in the same line, adding up to be the second largest language in the world, with a population of more than 500 million, second only to Chinese.

A 1997 survey found that 66% of Indians speak Hindi and 77% of Indians regard Hindi as the common language of the country. In India, about 422 million people use Hindi as their native language and another 300 million are used as a second language.

The Urdu language, which belongs to the same line as Hindi, is the official language of Pakistan and is used by a population of two hundred million.

Many people in Mauritius, South Africa, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, where the Indo-Pakistan migrated, are also communicating in Hindi and Urdu. Most of the films at the Bollywood Film Industry Base in India were filmed in Hindi.

The market covering Hindi is India, and the market covering Urdu is Pakistan.

Indian e-commerce has developed relatively mature, Pakistan e-commerce has just started, the local e-commerce platform led by Alibaba's investment in Daraz is currently about 10,000 units.

What behind the language is often the geopolitical culture and user habits, which represent a unified market with a point and a face. In addition to the Arabic market, Hindi and Urdu, African English, African French, Spanish and Portuguese markets are worthy of localization of cross-border e-commerce and will also provide more pre-emptive development opportunities.