There are three key trends that drive information and communications (ICT) growth in the Asia Pacific region - youth culture, urbanisation, and the rise of smartphones.
This is according to the communications technology and services provider Ericsson which released last week (June 18, 2014) its first appendix to the Ericsson Mobility Report. Focusing on South East Asia and Oceania, the appendix illustrated the differences across the region, including smartphone uptake, access to LTE, and network performance.
The youth population, those aged 10 to 24 years old, is among the largest segment globally; and is especially big in the developing countries of Southeast Asia and Oceania at more than 170 million.
The region's youth segment is crucial in driving the adoption of apps as well as the uptake of smartphones and mobile data services, particularly in the developing markets. According to the report, the youth segment is enthusiastic about technology and is conscious of ICT developments. Therefore, they often embrace new trends and can be expected to be a main driver of ICT services growth.
In addition, a higher proportion of youth in the region owned smartphones as compared to adults in 2013. The youth segment is also more active in using their smartphones for multiple purposes, from basic services such as voice calls and text messaging, to internet browsing, social networking and video streaming.
Ericsson also noted that the youth segment in SEA and Oceania are active users of various messaging apps such as instant messaging services like WhatsApp, WeChat, KakaoTalk and Line. These apps appeal to the youth market because they enable them to coordinate activities with different social groups, facilitate private chatting with friends, and allow access to social network platforms. Some of these services also provide games, digital stickers and music sharing.
SEA and Oceania is experiencing a wave of urban growth. In the region's mature ICT markets such as Australia and Singapore, at least 90 percent of them already live in cities or large towns. In developing countries such as Indonesia, Thailand and Philippines, this proportion is between 30 and 55 percent today, but the figure continues to increase.
This trend is heightening the importance of cities as drivers of innovation and growth, and highlighting their role in addressing issues such as poverty. Cities offer a more favourable setting for job generation, and can deliver education, healthcare and other services more efficiently than areas with a low population density, because of economies of scale and proximity.
ICT availability is one of the top five factors affecting city life satisfaction, illustrating its wider social and economic importance. It also plays a central role in addressing social challenges - in fact, ICT maturity and its ability to support sustainable development is an important driver in enhancing collaboration and creating more connected cities.
Sign up for MIS Asia eNewsletters.