Smartphones make a mark in Asia

22 June 2012

SINGAPORE: Smartphone users across Asia Pacific are engaging in an increasingly diverse range of activities using these devices.

According to Nielsen, the research firm, smartphone uptake now stands at 72% in Singapore, 67% in South Korea and 58% in Hong Kong. By contrast, totals hit just 10% in India and 19% in Indonesia.

Elsewhere, penetration among the subscriber base in Japan has reached a somewhat limited 26%, falling behind fast-growing economies like Malaysia on 28% and Vietnam on 30%.

However, 86% of Japan's smartphone audience had accessed the mobile web in the 30 days before the study, the highest level in the region, ahead of South Korea on 80%, Hong Kong on 76%, and China and Malaysia, on 75% apiece.

Levels fell to a low in India, on 15%, rising to 20% in the Philippines and 22% in Indonesia. Thailand was on 47%, the only nations falling below the 60% mark.

Application usage in the month prior to the study peaked at 81% in Japan and South Korea, as well as 74% in Hong Kong and 71% in China. India was on 13% and the Philippines registered 22%.

More broadly, the analysis suggested South Korean participants regularly used 55 different apps, coming in at 47 in Singapore, measured against a modest six in Vietnam and three in the Philippines.

Handsets using Google's Android operating system held a majority of the market in South Korea, on 78%, followed by Japan, on 58%, Taiwan, on 56%, and Hong Kong, on 51%. They also logged 44% in China.

Singapore was Apple's largest outlet, where it took 43% of the market, alongside 38% in Japan and 31% in Hong Kong. Nokia's Symbian was on 58% in Indonesia, 50% in India and 48% in Thailand.

Turning to advertising, 77% of Chinese smartphone customers recalled viewing such messages via this route in the previous 30 days, as did 74% in Malaysia, and 66% in Singapore and Hong Kong.

Scores dropped to 20% on this metric in Thailand, 36% in Indonesia 40% in Australia and 47% in Japan. Vishal Bali, managing director of Nielsen's telecoms industry group, also warned: "To date we are seeing a significant level of resistance among smartphone users towards mobile advertising."

In China, 39% of smartphone owners possessed a tablet, as did 32% in Thailand and 30% in Malaysia, with consumers in these nations some of the most rapid dual adopters of both gadgets.

Data sourced from Asia Media Journal; additional content by Warc staff