Choden*1, Sonam Deki1, Kinzang Chedup1, Sonam
Wangda1, Tandin Wangchuk1
1Information and Technology Department
College of Science and
E-mails: 0214527.cst, 02042013017.cst, 0214512.cst, 0204201321.cst, [email protected]
Abstract — The paper
explores the need of development of chat application in Bhutan. Taking a sample
size of 371 population of Bhutan, a traditional survey and interview were
conducted in major towns and city of Bhutan. The results revealed that 74% of
the Bhutanese people were willing to use chat application if ever developed in
our country. Moreover, the survey also revealed the existence of 64% population
using smart phone and chat application in Bhutan. Among 64% of users, dominant
percent of users felt comfortable to use chat application rather than texting
or calling via phones. The survey analysis supports a feasible and potential chat
application market in Bhutan. The paper further targets future Bhutanese chat
developer in developing relevant chatting applications.
Keywords: Chat application, smartphone, Bhutan, survey
The online chat
system is an efficient means of communication as it provides information that
is convenient, easy and cheaper for the users. It helps in boosting online
sales, ensures higher customer satisfaction and cost reduction 11. In
today’s world, smart phone is redefining the market place worldwide. Since 2010
volume of purchases of wireless device had taken place and many of the users do
not visit website from laptop as their daily routine3.
In this 21st
century, mobile technology is the latest technology and in the past decade, the
growth that it has received is tremendous both in terms of varieties of mobile
devices and number of people using them. The main features of these mobile
devices are it can be enabled to use a variety of communication technologies
such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and third generation (3G) as well as fourth generation
(4G). These features further enhance the users to shift from personal laptop to
a wireless smartphones.
since there is no chat app developed in our own country, chat apps from outside
are very famous with WeChat leading the list due to its free and abundant services. But in the past few years
issues about privacy and security have been increasingly raised. Many WeChat
users’ in our country have had their accounts hacked leading to threat to
personal information2. It is reported
on social media sites that hackers breach into WeChat accounts and share
obscene videos and photographs.
It is also free
messaging and calling application with its server based in China (Cheki, 2017).
Since the servers for it is based outside the country, the usage of such
application leaves the information of the user vulnerable to threats. Pema Dendup, an officer with the Bhutan Computer
Incident Response Team said to BBS that “WeChat is hosted in China and they have
totally different sets of cyber law. So we don’t have much control over
As many people uses these apps even for
official purposes, sharing of sensitive information via these apps can also
lead to threat to the National security. According to kuensel it is claimed
that many users have had their accounts hacked12. Thus leading to
rise in concern over how private and secure the app is. Thus, the need to have a chat app with its
server located in our own country and with proper security and privacy has
become very essential.
Data for this study came from 371
citizens (100% respondent) of Bhutan in year 2017. We received 528 respondents
from the survey conducted but only 371 were taken randomly based on the
stratified simple random sampling. The stratified data based on age group
stratification was calculated from total of 750,125 population of Bhutan
according to July 2016 population demographic estimation14. The
whole population were stratified into age groups; below 14(197,040 people), 15
to 24(144,102 people), 25 to 54(317,952 people), 55 to 64(44,525 people) and 65
above (46,506 people). From the stratified total population, strata fraction of
0.05% was taken which gave us respondent target of 371 which is 98, 72, 156,
22, 23 respondents from age group of below 14, 15 to 24, 25 to 54, 55 to 64
respectively. This survey was administered through questionnaires and
interviews using traditional approach and each takes about 5 minutes to
The results from the survey provide data
of Bhutan about the statics on the number of smart phone users and chatting
application usage. This survey also helps in analyzing how fast the smart phone
and the technologies users are increasing. This survey used descriptive
sampling under quantitative sampling with the use of survey and interview as
the main tools.
The survey was conducted manually based
on traditional approach using paper system. The question set included a mixture
of dichotomous and multiple choice questions.
Preliminary survey was conducted in CST
to check and reduce the errors and to re frame the questionnaires for better
results. Total of 50 students comprising of 25 male and 25 female students were
taken randomly and collected the data from them. This preliminary survey had
helped us to eliminate inappropriate and repeated questions and finally was
useful in crafting quality questionnaires before applying into real field.
Questionnaires were done randomly by the
team and gathered as much as possible visiting places like schools, offices,
temples and local markets and it had been assumed that the respondents had
answered honestly and to the best of their abilities. Based on the population
of the country, the sampling of the survey had been stratified based on age
groups and according to the sampling, only 371 of the data had been randomly
selected and used for the analysis. Of the 371(100%) data included in this
study, the male and female respondents were almost equal with 49.6% and 50.4%
respectively but the people living in urban were hugely higher than people
living in rural with 86% and 14% respectively.
In order to cover the all types of
Bhutanese people, interviews were mainly conducted for the uneducated people so
that we understand their point of views maintain equality and being unbiased.
Interviews were taken randomly around the place like temples, town areas and
crowded places. Based on the questionnaires already set for the survey,
interview was conducted face to face with the uneducated people comprising
mostly of old age people.
To determine the frequency of smartphone
and chatting apps usage by respondents when completing the survey, respondents
were categorized into mutually exclusive groups based on the smart phone users
and non-smart phone users. It was further subdivided into chatting app users
and non- chatting app users. For this study, “smartphone” included the use of
either an iPhone or Android phone and chatting apps included all of the
possible chatting/messaging apps used by the people in Bhutan.
Respondent characteristics include
gender, respondent age, education background and their settlement. From 371
respondents, most of them lived in urban area with literacy background up to
high school.49.6% were males and 50.4% were female from the respondents.
Further, in order to make the number of people living in urban and rural equal,
86% and 14% of people living in urban
and rural respectively were multiplied with 50% (0.5) which resulted with 68%
and 31% of people living in urban and rural respectively.
popularity of chat application and smartphone users in the country
users’ as per the respondent are 81% yes and 19% no, but that doesn’t
generalize the smart phone users in the country. Therefore, we took the same percentage of smartphone
users based on settlement (urban and rural respondent). For this we took 50% of
data from people settled in rural and remaining 50% from those settled in urban
region. It was done in order to get a clear analysis on the smartphone users
data from any part of the country. And w.r.t to the data collected we found
that 68%of Bhutanese uses smartphones while 32% don’t. Similarly, using same
analysis strategy we found out 68% of Bhutanese uses chat application while 32%
Figure 1. Smartphones users Figure 2. Chat app users
As we can see
from the above graph, the percentage of the population using smart phones and
chat application are more than double the percentage that do not use them.
These data suggest the advancement of technological and digital development in
the country and how the technology has affected the way people communicate and
socialize with each other. The high percentage also indicates that there is a
good market share for any type of mobile chat application and the feasibility
for the development of a new one in our own country.
of communication in Bhutan
When we talk about chat application, communication
is the main key and the major responsibility that any chat application must
provide. Most of the Bhutanese people use chat application as one of the main
means of communication where some users even use the application 24 hours a day
and they said it had helped them a lot in keeping in good contact with their
Figure 3. No. of
Application users within family
graph, it shows that the maximum number of smart phone users used
chat/messaging application and the that many of their family members also owns
a smartphone and uses chat application indicating the usage of chat application
as a means of communication within a family. The high percentage signify that
more and more people in Bhutan are getting used to using the mobile technology
and how it has affected the ways the people in the country communicate and
socialize with each other. The
increasing popularity of smart phone and mobile based application in the
country indicates that Bhutan is moving at the same pace as the rest of the
world in keeping up with the ever advancing technology.
Cost and portability
Cost is the major issue which influences use of an
application and ultimately effects the number of users of a chat application. Chat
applications are more popular these days due to its efficiency and portability
of smartphones. Since chat application are
much cheaper than any other mode for communications, the number of chat
application users are increasing every time. In an effective and efficient way,
chat application had proved to be user-friendly to the users. So cost and portability
also play vital role in using a chat application.
and comfortableness of chat application
With the development, the ease and comfortableness
of a chat application is also one of the concerns. Bhutan with half of the
population being uneducated, ease and comfortableness is necessary to be
concerned about. Since a sender can use chat application anytime without having
to know the phone number of the receiver, he/she can send the message by just
looking at the profile picture of the receiver. This reason has also played a
major role in increasing the number of chat application users in Bhutan.
Figure 4. Phone Vs Application
According to the
above result, there is high variation of graph in the age group 25 to 54. 83%
of the population feels that chat application is more comfortable and easier to
use than calls and messaging via phone. The vary reason could be they are more
familiar with chat application and it signify that chat application popularly
used within this age group. While for the age group, 65 and above, we have the
least percentage of people who find chat applications more comfortable than
phone’s feature, indicating the generation gap in the country and difficulty of
old people in keeping up with the current trends.
The data we
collected during this survey showed that there is a high percentage of
population who uses smartphones which support many mobile based on application.
Also we saw that there is a high percentage of chat application users in the
country and many uses these applications as a means of communication in a
family even though some of these applications have security issues. Hence,
these data indicate that there is a very good market share for a new chat
application with good security feature and developed in our own country. For
additional support to prove the feasibility of development of mobile chat
application in the country we have the above graph which indicates a high
percentage of the population would use the chat application developed in our own
68% of the total
population use smart phone and chatting application in Bhutan. This data
suggest the advancement of the technological has affected the way people
communicate and socialize with each other in higher rate. The high percentage
also indicates a feasible and good market share in Bhutan for mobile chat
analysis showed 85% and 86% of the family members use smart phone and mobile
chat application respectively. This indicates that more chat application users
use chat application as a means of communication in a family. This further
supports the higher feasibility of development of mobile chat application in
population feel comfortable to use chat application than texting and calling
via phone. So the statement supports that the feasibility of people using chat
application in our country is high since most of the people feel easy in using
chat application for calling or texting rather than direct calls and texts through
phone. This may be because of the fact that chat application cost much lesser
74% of the
population of Bhutan are willing to use chat application if ever developed in
our country. This analysis supports a positive response and potential chat
application market in Bhutan which indicates that chat application developed in
our country will be useful for all the people.
applications are becoming a popular means of communication all around the
globe. Thus there is a need to have a chat application developed in our own
country. But before developing it is necessary to understand the market share
willing and wanting to use the application that is a feasibility study must be
carried out. Hence this paper describes the feasibility for developing a chat
application in our own country.
As per the
results from the survey carried out, it is visible that chat applications are
gaining a tremendous popularity among the Bhutanese and is being used as one of
the basic means of communications. This indicates that there is a good market
share for chat application if it was developed in the country. Also as per the
data collected and analyzed it can be found that majority of the population are
willing to use a chat application developed in our own country.
We would like to
thank the College of Science and Technology for providing the financial support
for presenting the paper in the conference. We would also like to extend our
gratitude to Mr. Karma Wangchuk for helping us to get the necessary papers and
providing the technical support required for writing this paper.
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