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Big, or Bigger: Southeast Asia’s Tech Economy in 2025

Google and Temasek have been taking a crack at estimating and predicting the size of Southeast Asia’s ecommerce economy for the past four years, starting in 2016 (yes, I know that’s three years but they’ve put out four reports, the latest this week, so there.)  I’ve not had a close look at this report, there’s obviously some good stuff in there, and it’s easy to pick holes in this kind of thing, but it pays to be humble. I’ve done my own chart, below, taken the data from each report about their predictions for 2025, and how they’ve changed over time. The four left columnsContinue readingBig, or Bigger: Southeast Asia’s Tech Economy in 2025

For the tech hubs of the future, look to Asia’s smaller cities

This is an update on a piece I’d written for Reuters six years ago on remote freelancing in emerging markets. It was written in part for a new Cisco report on Technology and the future of ASEAN jobs (PDF), launched this week at WEF.   Much of the disruptive change in Southeast Asia in the past five years has been been by adding formalized systems and layers to existing sectors, most of that in what broadly be called mobile commerce. Think Grab, Go-Jek, Lazada. The investment has been concentrated, in country, sector and in companies. But the real change in skills and work in theContinue readingFor the tech hubs of the future, look to Asia’s smaller cities

Innovative Complacency or the Wisdom of the Deceived?

  This is where I see a real problem for developed Asia: a complacency and disinterest in the role of technology and innovation. Or is it the clarity of vision from too much innovation? In a survey conducted by IDC on behalf of Avaya (no link available, you need to sign up to get a copy), key IT decision makers from developed Asian countries (leaving aside Australia for now) were much more likely to downplay the role of innovation in driving business. Singapore came lowest with 14% of respondents believing the statement “innovation is extremely important to drive business.” Compare that to around 40% inContinue readingInnovative Complacency or the Wisdom of the Deceived?

Facebook can’t take Asian growth for granted

A piece I wrote ahead of Facebook’s IPO, casting a skeptical eye over assumptions that Asia would continue to be a source of major growth for the company. Even as Facebook fever grips investors ahead of the social networking giant’s potential $100 billion-plus initial public offering, its breakneck growth in Asia may be slowing as it moves beyond desktop users to those who access the Internet largely or solely from a mobile phone. In March, Facebook revised its own SEC filings to scale back its scope for further growth in India – its third-biggest user base and the largest population it currently has access toContinue readingFacebook can’t take Asian growth for granted

Southeast Asia’s Third Mobile Tier

The mobile revolution is moving from second tier countries in Southeast Asia to the third and final tier. Whereas previously Indonesia and the Philippines were seeing the biggest growth in mobile Internet traffic, now it’s Burma (Myanmar) and Cambodia which top the list in terms of user- and usage-growth, according to the Opera State of the Mobile Web report for July: Myanmar and Cambodia lead the top 10 countries of the region in terms of page-view growth (6415.0 % and 470.1 %, respectively). Myanmar and Cambodia lead the top 10 countries of the region in growth of unique users (1207.5 % and 179.1 %, respectively).Continue readingSoutheast Asia’s Third Mobile Tier

Facebook’s ‘Locality of Friendship’

This visualization by Facebook intern Paul Butler illustrates what he calls the locality of friendship. I was interested in seeing how geography and political borders affected where people lived relative to their friends. I wanted a visualization that would show which cities had a lot of friendships between them. It’s a magnificent effort and scores marks for beauty: and for the amazing amount of data it carries within it. Look at how the world of social media breaks down into clusters: Europe is hard to subdivide:  But Australia and New Zealand are almost three countries: But of greatest interest to me is my own patch,Continue readingFacebook’s ‘Locality of Friendship’

Facebook in Asia: Seeds of Decline?

Some thoughts after trawling through data I’m collecting on Facebook membership in selected Asia Pacific countries Membership of Facebook in developed Asia Pacific territories declined for the first time in a year in September, suggesting, possibly, that interest in the social networking site in the region has peaked. The figures may also reveal insights on whether, in developing countries, a social networking site can break out of their middle class enclaves. Facebook populations in Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and Hong Kong all fell during the month, while those in Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines all either grew only marginally or shrank somewhat. Hong Kong droppedContinue readingFacebook in Asia: Seeds of Decline?

Facebook’s Asian Growth: Not Everywhere is North

I’ve seen some posts recently suggesting that Facebook is not doing well in Asia-Pacific. This, for example, from Forrester’s Reineke Reitsma: For example, Facebook is struggling to gain ground in Asia Pacific: With 58% of online adults accessing it, Orkut is the leading social platform in metropolitan India, while 27% of Japanese online adults use mixi; and in South Korea, Cyworld is most popular, attracting 63% of South Korean Internet users. I won’t quarrel with her stats, but I’d suggest she’s missing a bigger picture: Facebook is growing at quite a clip in many Asian countries. My figures, based on Facebook data—which doesn’t include JapanContinue readingFacebook’s Asian Growth: Not Everywhere is North

Podcast: Hotel Business Centers

Spending a week in the Philippines at one of Manila’s fancier hotels reminded me how far hotel business centers have to go to catch up with the rest of the leisure industry. A weekly column I recorded for the BBC World Service Business Daily (the Business Daily podcast is here.) To listen to the podcast, click on the button below. To subscribe, click here. Loose Wireless 100224 To listen to Business Daily on the radio, tune into BBC World Service at the following times, or click here. Australasia: Mon-Fri 0141*, 0741 East Asia: Mon-Fri 0041, 1441 South Asia: Tue-Fri 0141*, Mon-Fri 0741 East Africa: Mon-FriContinue readingPodcast: Hotel Business Centers

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