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Asia Pacific Digital Landscape: Mobile Connects an Otherwise Diverse Region

January 2017

Asia Pacific is unique in terms of its diversity and the pace of digital evolution. Low fixed-broadband access in emerging Asia has led to a regional digital divide, but public projects aim to address this issue. Despite the low broadband access, the region has the highest internet user base globally helped by expanding mobile internet coverage. East Asia is the digital hub with China dominating across a number of indicators. This report aims to explore the factors that connect this otherwise di

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Asia Pacific is home to the largest internet user base globally

Expanding mobile internet coverage, favourable demographics and increasing usage of smartphones are driving internet usage in Asia. The region has the largest number of internet users and leads Eastern Europe and Latin America in mobile connectivity according to Euromonitor International’s Digital Mobile Connectivity Index.

Governments aim to bridge the existing rural-urban broadband divide

Despite the growth in cellular connectivity and higher internet access, Asia trails most regions in fixed-broadband coverage, according to Euromonitor International’s Home Connectivity Index. However, public broadband projects have been launched in many emerging Asian nations to address the digital divide.

South Korea, Singapore and Japan are the Asian digital leaders

According to the Digital Connectivity Index, Singapore, South Korea and Japan are the regional leaders both in terms mobile and fixed-broadband penetration. Robust network investments and tech-savvy consumers have led to a highly advanced digital landscape. Operators are trialling technologies such as 5G.

China drives emerging Asia’s mobile internet coverage

China is the regional behemoth and has driven the push towards greater mobile internet access in emerging Asia. The country was placed third in Euromonitor International’s Mobile Connectivity Index in 2015 and will occupy the top spot in 2020. Moreover, Indonesia will move up 13 places in the index by 2020 due to plans to expand 3G and 4G access.

High cash usage and online privacy concerns pose challenges

Despite advances in digital connectivity, cash transactions are still high in most Asian nations and this poses a challenge for the uptake of digital commerce. Online security and privacy concerns are prevalent in both developed and emerging nations, such as Japan and Indonesia.


Scope of the Digital Consumer
Key findings

Asia Pacific in the Global Context

Asia Pacific is a global leader in internet users due to mobile
Region emerges as the mobile internet hub of the world
Japan, South Korea and Singapore are the most digitally advanced
Public projects addressing low regional fixed-broadband access
Rural Asia to benefit from ongoing National Broadband Projects
Asia emerging as global growth engine for digital consumption

Asian Markets of the Future

South Korea and Singapore lead in digital connectivity
South Korea’s digital leadership to be boosted by 5G networks
Competition has driven Singapore’s digital development
Japan’s digital landscape characterised by continuous innovation
China leads emerging Asia’s push towards higher internet access
Robust investments propels the region’s digital behemoth: China
Mobile internet fuels digital development in Southeast Asia
Indonesians will benefit from higher mobile internet coverage
India’s digital landscape lags behind despite rising mobile access
Philippines plans to reform telecom sector to bridge digital divide
Political turmoil threatens Thailand’s digital landscape
Resource-rich Central Asia has immense digital promise


Cut-throat competition continues to hurt capital investments
Broadband penetration needs to significant improvement
Mobile connectivity is being used to address Asia’s digital divide
Asia’s youth will fuel smartphone usage across the region
Ongoing uptake of smartphones will drive digital commerce growth
Despite digital’s rise, cash remains the dominant payment method
Online data security and privacy major concerns among Asians


Methodology for the Digital Consumer Index (1)
Methodology for the Digital Consumer Index (2)
2016 Digital Connectivity Index (1)
2016 Digital Connectivity Index (2)
2016 Digital Connectivity Index (3)
2016 Digital Connectivity Index (4)

Report Definitions

Data parameters and report definitions (1)
Data parameters and report definitions (2)


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