2011 really was a break through for the Internet and technology industries in Asia. While growth and development from emerging markets is a given, Asia is progressing at a very positive rate.
Smartphones and Android blew up in Southeast Asia
Asia’s smartphone revolution has been on the cusp for some time, but the phenomenal response to Android has seen the ownership of devices shift up a few gears over the last twelve months.
Android shipments to Southeast Asia grew by 1,000 percent this year, with the Google-owned open sourced operating system, thought to account for 40 percent of the region’s smartphones today.
Microblogging boomed in China
Twitter is banned in China, alongside a host of other western social networks, which has seen the country’s social media space develop in its own, distinct way. Two of the main weibo (which is Chinese for microblog) services are those offered by Sina and Tencent, both of which have a number of other Internet services in addition.
Social media usage shot up across the region, with room to grow
Facebook has been in dominant social network in many Asian countries for some time and Twitter has begun to see similar success across the region this year.
Thailand, for example, where Facebook is the dominant social network, saw a massive growth in Twitter usage during its worst flood for ten years. On a far larger scale, Twitter was essential in Japan during its earthquake disaster this year, although this is less surprising given its profile in the country.
English leads the way, with Japanese, Malay, Thai and Korean are amongst the top languages, demonstrating that the service is well used in markets across Asia, with China the notable exception.
Mobile social gaming
We’ve extensively covered the progress of mobile social gaming which, in Asia, has its roots in Japan, where leading firms DeNA and GREE are both based.
As we showed above during the Android/smartphone recap, mobile apps are hugely popular in Asia with gaming the dominant genre. Taking this a step further, DeNA and GREE provide a platform for gaming on a mobile phone, where gamers can play with friends or complete strangers.
And now to 2012…
There are a great many other spaces where tech and the Internet have made impressive ground in Asia this year — with notable examples like voice microblogging provider Bubble Motion (10 million global users) and mobile messaging service Mig33 (8.5 million messages sent per day)