Monday, December 03, 2007

Mobile Internet is expected to grow in Asia

By Star Biz

INTERNET company Yahoo! Inc is bullish about its mobile Internet and search services in Asia, as demand for it is expected to grow at an accelerated pace.

Yahoo! Connected Life Asia vice-president and general manager David Ko said that as mobile devices advanced technologically and carriers improved networks and data transfer rates, so would the adoption of mobile Internet and search services.

“We believe most people in Asia are likely to access the Internet through their (mobile) phones first, rather than computers,” he told StarBiz at Mobile Asia Congress in Macau recently.

Ko said Malaysia's mobile Internet access devices market, according to IDC Malaysia, was expected to grow 61% and accounted for nearly 45% of total Internet access devices this year.

“This growth will only encourage the need for relevant mobile information and Yahoo! is well positioned in this space,” he said.

When asked on the take up of Yahoo!'s mobile Internet services in Malaysia, he said, without disclosing numbers, that there was “good usage patterns for Yahoo! Go downloads” and that search usage was increasing steadily.

Yahoo! Go is an application that brings together services that includes email, search and address book, which allow people to stay connected whenever and wherever they are.

The company, Ko said had also fundamentally changed the way consumers' access and use Internet content and services on mobiles devices when it launched Yahoo! oneSearch earlier this year.

Yahoo! oneSearch is designed for mobile devices, delivering results directly on the first screen and thereby removing the need for consumers to navigate through a sea of links to other websites to find the information they want.

“Search is a service mobile operators want to provide to their customers. We currently have the ability to reach over 200 million consumers globally with oneSearch and this number is set to grow, especially in Asia Pacific, since we've just announced several more partnerships at Mobile Asia Congress,” he said.

The partnership deals unveiled last month included three Indian carriers (Aircel Ltd, BPL Mobile and BSNL) Malaysian carrier DiGi Telecommunications Sdn Bhd, Indonesian carriers Hutch 3, Indosat and Excelcom, PCCW Mobile HK Ltd of Hong Kong and Singapore's Starhub Ltd.

These deals, which build on six earlier Asian carrier partnerships announced in June, have expanded Yahoo!'s reach in Asia Pacific to 16 oneSearch operator partnerships.

With the critical mass of mobile Internet users, Ko said marketers and advertisers could extend and further strengthen their online advertising strategies by tapping mobile advertising.

“Building a compelling user experience is a pre-requisite for monetisation,” he said, adding that Yahoo!'s aim was to provide users a robust and compelling user experience regardless of network and device.

Ko also pointed out that Malaysia's online advertising growth was expected to outpace the global market.

“It is growing at a promising rate and we expect it to follow suit like the US, where it has exceeded 5% of total ad spending,” he said, citing ABI Research's forecast that global mobile marketing and advertising was expected to grow six fold to US$19bil by 2011 from an estimated US$3bil by end 2007.

So what do u guys think? There should be opportunity to expand some new gadget to the market!

*The KLCI did surge 17 points today! We shall observe until Friday.