Western business 'lagging behind' in social media

image captionSocial networks can offer an alternative to traditional forms of communication

Western business have been slower at adopting social networks such as Facebook than their rivals in developing countries, according to a report by KPMG.

The report found firms in China, India and Brazil were 20-30% more likely to use social media than companies in developed countries such as the UK.

KPMG surveyed 1,850 managers and 2,016 employees from 10 countries.

On average, it found that 70% of companies now use social media.

"The emerging markets seem to be quickly finding that social networks offer a relatively low-cost opportunity to leapfrog the competition in developed markets," said Tudor Aw, KPMG's head of technology, Europe.

Legacy systems

"The rapid adoption of social media in emerging market countries may also be attributed to a lower dependence on 'legacy systems'," such as email, he added.

The survey comes after French IT services giant Atos announced it was to scrap internal emails at the business by 2014.

The firm's chief executive, Thierry Breton, told the BBC that his employees were wasting hours of their time checking messages which were not useful, fearful of missing something important.

The company is already carrying out trials of instant messaging tools and other alternatives to email based on social networks.

The KPMG report found that employees banned from using these networks often use them anyway.

One third of employees surveyed whose firm had blocked access used workarounds to get onto social network sites.

Social media take-up

KPMG's survey found that 98% managers at firms in China and 95% of managers in Brazil said they use social media at least several times a week, compared with 80% of managers in the UK.

Only 48% of UK companies use networks such as Twitter and Facebook to communicate with suppliers, clients and customers.

That compares with 72% in the US and 83% in China.

However, the report found that UK firms had fewer problems using the internet for social purposes compared with their rivals overseas.

Related Internet Links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.