Aliza Knox, managing director of commerce for Google Asia-Pacific, pointed out at CommunicAsia 2012 Singapore earlier this week that mobile devices are playing a more central role compared to personal computers (PCs). She also predicted that mobile devices would soon overtake conventional computers in Asia-Pacific. She commented:
Asia is ahead. Asia is taking this [mobile device industry] faster than other places.
Knox predicted that by 2015, half the world’s internet users will come from Asia, and that their first experience online will likely be on a mobile.
Knox explained about the trend in three parts:
First, based on the internet usage behavior in the region, smartphones and tablets are now becoming the primary means to access the internet: 74 percent of searches in Singapore are conducted with mobile phones, while in Indonesia 78 percent of users go online with a tablet or smartphone. Here are more insights from Nielsen that we looked at earlier today about mobile phone trends in Asia.
Second, a comparison of mobile phone usage between the Asia Pacific region and the United States: Knox said that four regional economies – Singapore, Hong Kong, Australia, and South Korea – already have higher smartphone usage rates than the US. She added that people in both Japan and South Korea have almost double the number of apps on his or her smartphone compared with someone in the United States.
Third, on how central mobile phones are becoming to our lives: Knox cited global research showing “most people” keep at least one mobile device within three feet and check it/them an average of 40 times a day. One in four takes it to the bathroom, and two in three sleep with the device(s) beside the bed. People now also watch more videos and play more games with their mobiles.
In response to this surge, Knox noted that Google hired 600 people in the region this year and invested $700 million to establish new data centers. It is a strong signal sent out by Google as they also look to strengthen their mobile app market with Google Play in the region.
Other experts seem to second Knox’s analysis of this trend. Plus with PC growth slowing over the last year (to just 3 percent), we can safely say that the prediction looks on its way to become a fact in the next few years.