SINGAPORE: Rising levels of mobile phone ownership in Asia Pacific offer a number of opportunities to generate revenues, ranging from advertising and marketing to providing niche information in sectors such as healthcare, a new study says.

According to the Asia Mobile Telecommunications Innovation report, produced by the Mobile Marketing Association and Solidiance, APAC is currently responsible for around a third of the 4 billion-strong global handset market.

With this, the mobile penetration rate stood at over 100% in Hong Kong, Singapore and Australia last year, falling to 99% in Malaysia, 97% in Thailand, and 86% in Japan.

By contrast, this total dropped to just 31% in India, and 49% in China, rising to 65% in Indonesia, 73% in Vietnam and 78% in the Philippines.

Some 76% of Indian mobile owners attached "high importance" to their phone, compared with 71% of their counterparts in China, 42% in Australia, and 39% in Japan.

At present, 29% of China's online audience regularly access the web via their cellphone, while more consumers in Japan log on to the internet in this way than via a laptop, showing that mobile search has considerable room for growth.

Furthermore, it is estimated that there are now only 52 million smartphones in use in the region, and as this figure rises, more possibilities are set to emerge.

"Undoubtedly, the mobile device is the most personal technology in use today, a fact that presents immense potential for engagement through mobile advertising and marketing," said Rohit Dadwal, managing director, Asia Pacific, of the Mobile Marketing Association.

"The increase of function-rich smartphones in the market with larger screen size, better web browsing capabilities and longer battery life, combined with 'all you can eat' data packages is driving the growth of mobile internet making it a ready channel to connect with customers."

Korea is providing another example of how this emerging channel is generating real returns, with mobile music sales set to reach $390 million (€261m; £235m) this year, rising to $500m in 2015.

Similarly, "mobile healthcare", which covers everything from remote monitoring to accessible medical records and general health-related information, will deliver just under $1bn in revenues in 2010, some 50% of which will be accounted for by Japan.
Forecasts from Solidiance also suggested that mobile gaming will see its corresponding totals climb from $2.3bn in 2008 to around $3.4bn in 2011.

Data sourced from Mobile Marketing Association; additional content by Warc staff