The Facts on Internet Use Across Asia

Time Of Info By TOI Staff   March 27, 2023   Update on : March 27, 2023

Facts on Internet Use Across Asia
Photo by Paul Hanaoka on Unsplash

For many, it’s easy to think of Asia as just a handful of countries, such as China, Japan, and India, and that is particularly true of technology. With that said, it is other countries in the region that are most interesting to look at, especially when it comes to mobile app usage.

South-East Asia and Mobile Internet

Compared to areas like Europe and North America, South East Asia has an entirely different profile in internet and app usage. Thanks in part to the geography and general layout of many countries in that region, things like nationwide broadband or indeed any other kind of landlines aren’t as feasible, so a different approach had to be adopted that fit their needs better.
Instead of fixed internet, mobile data is the number one option for the majority of South East Asian countries, and the industry has evolved around that. Mobile data in the region is priced at some of the cheapest in the world, with almost all countries priced at 1 USD per GB of data or less, and some as low as 0.17USD.
This has combined with a major market in affordable smartphones in the region to make mobile data eclipse other internet forms. It has reached the point where a private household having a wired internet connection is a rarity, and thanks to the high costs of having it installed, it is limited to the upper classes in each country.
The Asian region alone has been largely responsible for a massive global increase in data usage, multiplying seven times over since 2017 up to a total of 77 exabytes, or 77 billion gigabytes.

App Development In Asia

This major push towards mobile usage has led to a substantial investment in app development in the region, and many of the most mobile-friendly software solutions originate from Asia. We have previously covered the giant that is TikTok in our technology section as a prime example of something that has emerged from Asia to dominate the world market. Still, there are a large number of other success stories as well.
From that South-East region in particular comes Go-Jek, which started out in a similar manner to Uber but focused specifically on motorbike rides, which makes sense seeing as two-wheeled vehicles dominate the roads in Indonesia where it was first operational. Now spread out over three separate countries in the region, it has become a one-stop app for virtually every kind of service, adding delivery, entertainment, and many more functions on top of the original ride-calling function.
In a similar line, South Korea created the Kakao app, which evolved this time from a messaging app into something all-purpose. This approach has been repeated across Asia and has started to move into Europe as well, albeit on a smaller scale.

Catering For Customers

Within their specific countries, developers are able to offer services that are focused on the needs of people in those regions. We earlier mentioned that Go-Jek focused on bike rides over cars to match their audience, but there are other examples across a range of different industries.

Catering For Customers

Photo by shot ed on Unsplash

Gambling, for one, is an extremely popular option in the region, but each country has players with different needs. As well as apps, general software developers and website creators in the betting field are able to tailor their products for various audiences. Online betting in the Philippines and online betting in India, for example, require entirely different approaches due to the different sports on offer, customer tendencies, and simply how the marketing works.

This is a story repeated across banking, payments, and even healthcare. Asian developers have, for the most part, understood perfectly how to provide for their markets, and as mentioned previously their approaches are quickly being picked up elsewhere.

All of the above has set Asia up as a powerhouse of a region when it comes to the mobile use of internet services. The only other region globally that comes close is the emerging market of South America, which interestingly has many of the same requirements. However, development and usage there is still a long way behind Asia as a whole, so it will be interesting to see whether one region will overlap with the other in the future.


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