Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Asia Trends: Think local, app global

Part of our regular series on trends across Asia as they show up in Google data

Two breakout searches last week highlight how the smartphone has made Asia, the world’s largest mobile-Internet market, thoroughly global. The spike this week in Hong Kong’s searches for Bitstrips and for Moman Camera Share in Indonesia show how much Asia has changed.

It wasn’t too long ago (four years, in fact) that Asia’s mobile Internet was fragmented: Korea’s cutting-edge phones of 2007 didn’t work in Japan, or vice versa. But now, innovations built for the smartphone can spread across Asia, and then the world, as has famously happened with the Made-in-Japan Line or Made-in-China WeChat.

Two big Asian spikes for searches for apps show that the success of those two apps at leaping borders isn’t a fluke. Last week, searches for caricature app Bitstrip spiked in Asia so that the Philippines and Hong Kong and Malaysia were among the markets with the highest intensity of searches in the world.

And as you can see the search intensity in Hong Kong far exceeded what it saw in the U.S., even if it couldn’t maintain that intensity for long.

The other spike shows how Asia’s app economy can bridge apparently dissimilar Internet markets. Searches for insta-caricature app Moman Camera spiked last week in Indonesia — which apparently has been hunting for information about the app. As you can see from this map, it’s the first market outside of China to search for it in any significant way.

The searches for the Chinese name of the app suggest that Chinese-speaking users in Southeast Asia, especially in Malaysia, adopted it before users in Indonesia picked up on the app and started searching for it.

So while the mobile Internet might look very different in China and Indonesia in terms of devices and penetration, the two markets apparently unite in their love of turning friends’ faces into silly cartoons.

Posted by Robin Moroney, Communications Manager, Google Asia Pacific

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