HONG KONG: Google, Microsoft and Apple are among the technology brands that are generating the most online buzz in Asia Pacific, a new study has found.

Edelman, the PR network, allied with Brandtology, the social media specialist, in order to assess six million web-based conversations in eight markets across the region.

Their analysis covered around 300 multinational and local technology brands, and utilised figures drawn from 4,000 of the area's biggest websites.

Google, the search giant, led the rankings in China, where its decision to scale back its domestic operations resulted in a 30% increase its number of "brand mentions" measured against Q4 2009.

Acer, the PC manufacturer, was in second position, and also received the highest score in terms of actively engaging with influential consumers in order to encourage word of mouth.

China Telecom, Nokia and Microsoft completed the top five, based on 184,374 discussions on 472 websites, taking in some 88 companies in all.

Forums like Tianya and 163.com and dedicated IT news portals hosted 90% of these interactions, but social networks such as Sina, Weibo and Kaixin001 have all started to gain ground.

As in China, Google delivered the most buzz in India, ahead of Microsoft in second and Apple in third, with the last of these firms having posted a 67% uptick in WOM thanks to the launch of the iPad.

More broadly, the frequency with which individual brands were referenced by name climbed by 26% in India in Q1 2010 compared with Q4 2009, to a total of 186,588 mentions overall.

Twitter, the microblogging service, was the dominant arena for sharing opinions about technology brands, with 79% of all mentions being recorded on this platform, up from 21% in the last quarter of 2009.

Indeed, Twitter was the main forum for brand-related discussions in almost all of the markets assessed, falling to second in Hong Kong and not featuring in China because of formal limitations on accessing its pages.

"Despite the success of Twitter, our experience with the data and with clients shows that brands shouldn't rely on one particular channel," said John Kerr, of Edelman Digital, Asia Pacific.

"This requires deep online insight to ensure that paid, owned, earned and social media are efficiently integrated online."

Visitors to the 587 sites monitored in Australia spoke about one of 60 major technology brands every 47 seconds, with Google, Microsoft and Apple making up the local top three.

Product launches and cloud computing were the main drivers of commentary among netizens in Australia, with CNET a specific destination that saw a surge in brand conversations in the last quarter.

Elsewhere, Google claimed first place in Singapore, where it was followed by two local players in the form of SingTel and StarHub, both of which are active in the national telecoms sector.

The US multinational was also pre-eminent in Indonesia, where it came in ahead of domestic telco Indosat, and similarly bested Microsoft in both Taiwan and Malaysia.

However, it did not register in the five most talked-about brands in Hong Kong, where Sony, Apple, Nokia, Intel and Microsoft generated the most interest.

Data sourced from Edelman; additional content by Warc staff