Southeast Asia could be a leader in mobile internet usage next year

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Southeast Asia is poised to be a leader in mobile internet usage in 2018,

according

to a report by Google and Temasek.

The region’s internet economy is estimated to hit $50 billion by the end of 2017, surpassing Google and Temasek’s expectations by 35%. And this figure is expected to climb 300% in 2025, to reach $200 billion.

Southeast Asia has
more than 641 million consumers, 51% of whom are monthly active internet users; that leaves plenty of room for growth in mobile internet usage. The report focused on six key markets in Southeast Asia — Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, and the Philippines — and leveraged proprietary Google data and Temasek research. Here are some highlights:

  • Southeast Asia’s internet user base has surged rapidly over the past two years.
    The number of monthly active internet users is estimated to reach 330 million by the end of this year, up 70 million new users since 2015. This makes southeast Asia the third-largest market globally in terms of internet users.

  • Consumers in Southeast Asia spend more time on the mobile internet than any other market.

    On average, consumers in Southeast Asia spend 3.6 hours per day on the mobile internet. Thailand leads the pack with 4.2 hours per day, followed by Indonesia at 3.9 hours per day. For context, the US spends an average of two hours per day on the mobile internet.

  • Southeast Asia is one of the fastest-growing emerging smartphone markets.

    The region is poised to reach 480 million internet users by 2020,

    according

    to TechCrunch. And s
    martphones make up the lion’s share of Southeast Asia’s internet population — roughly 90% of Southeast Asia’s internet users are smartphone users.

Google and Facebook are each turning to Southeast Asia to drive mobile internet usage and build out their user bases. Google recently launched a slew of new tools and features — Android Oreo (Go Edition), Go apps in the Google Play Store, and the Google Station program — which aim to catalyze mobile internet adoption and usage. And in 2015, Facebook launched its connectivity initiative, Internet.org, in Indonesia, to get more people online.

The app includes numerous connectivity strategies, including the Free Basics app, which enables consumer access to certain content for free on mobile devices. Google and Facebook will continue to push products aimed at the Southeast Asian market as they vie to win consumers who are coming online for the first time.

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