It’s happened: the most populous country in the world has almost reached peak smartphone saturation among internet users. “According to the China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC) which is a branch of the country’s Ministry of Industry and Information, 788 million people are mobile users, a whopping 98 percent of the country’s total user base,” Statista notes. This “illustrates just how efficient China has proven at rolling out network coverage as well as how mobile technology has become an indispensable facet of everyday life in the country.”
China is not the only country in Asia with significant mobile internet use. Business Insider reported that 2018 was set to be a huge year for Southeast Asia in that regard, and that “consumers in Southeast Asia spend more time on the mobile internet than any other market.” Thailand leads with consumers spending 4.2 hours per day on average on the mobile internet; the United States, by comparison, averages two hours per day per consumer.
What this points to is a need for companies expanding into Asia to consider how all-important the mobile internet is to consumers there. In Thailand, screens are far more ubiquitous than businessmen in Western high-rise offices might assume. Screens play ads in the subway. At the dentist, patrons watch Thai television while simultaneously attending to their phones. Attention spans, as a result, may be short. Companies have less time than ever to make an initial impression. So the first impression had better be well-researched, and well-localized.
In our issue on Asia, hot off the press and making its way to various locales around the globe, companies can find some tips on how to succeed when they’re localizing for Asia. If you’re not a subscriber, try browsing our Insights articles on the topic or browse through our free magazine articles — recognizing the big-picture challenge is just the first step.