Mary Meeker's Internet Trends report is a highly-anticipated presentation which is now delivered at the annual Code conference.  

In it, the Silicon Valley VC Partner Mary Meeker gives a breathtakingly comprehensive overview of the state of the Internet covering a wide range of topics include online advertising, interactive games, and how digital media is influencing healthcare.

In her 355 slides this year, she also discusses how the internet is changing countries globally. Nearly 100 slides this year were dedicated to China and India.

She also mentions a number of trends applicable to Asia-Pacific as a whole, three of which are summarized below. 

1) Businesses in congested Asian cities are ripe for digital disruption

This chart shows the top 10 of congested cities globally. While it highlights cities in India, it's also notable that five out of the top seven of the world's most congested cities are in Asia Pacific.


What this means for consumers in these cities is that visiting stores and other business premises is a laborious task, often involving hours in traffic jams.

For marketers, this is an opportunity for digital brands to offer services without having to compete with existing, entrenched businesses. Ecommerce is the most obvious example, but brands which offer in-home services such as health care, online finance, and home delivery will do well in an urban environment which discourages out-of-home shopping trips.

Companies such as: 

  • CekAja - which offers a wide variety of online financial products in Indonesia
  • Portea - In-home health care via an app in India
  • Kalibrr - a service where people can pre-qualify at home for call-centre jobs in Manila

are already capitalizing on this trend.

Brands looking to break into these markets could offer in-home or special delivery services to appeal to consumers in the congested cities.

2) Consumers are crazy for on-demand services in Asia Pacific

One of the most noteworthy charts in the whole presentation is the gloal breakdown of the on-demand transportation market.


Here we see that China alone consumes more on-demand services than every other country in the world with its apparently insatiable appetite for taxis and bikes.  But what is also interesting is that Southeast Asia, with a total population of around 625 million has more on-demand trips than EMEA (population 2 billion) and, when you include India, rivals the demand in North America.

For those living in Southeast Asia, these figures make sense as on-demand bike and taxi apps have become an essential part of every day life in the region.

Startups in the region are taking advantage of this trend by offering every on-demand service that you can imagine: 

  • UrbanClap - which offers a wide variety of on-demand services including make-up artists, yoga trainers, and DJs
  • Kluje - an on-demand handyman service in Singapore
  • Helpr - which provides an on-demand personal shopper in Malaysia 

Brands who are aiming to be front and centre on consumers' mobiles in the region could also offer similar, addictive on-demand services.

3) Mobile ad-blocking is on the rise

Finally, global brands must realise that advertising channels in Asia Pacific may not be as open as they are elsewhere. Consumers in the region are now adblocking at rates not seen elsewhere in the world.

Indonesia leads adblocking globally with more than half of its mobile users (58%) blocking mobile ads.  India and China also have more than the global average percentage of netizens who block mobile ads as do Pakistan (32%), Singapore (9%), and Malaysia (8%).

While its perhaps a bit too soon to predict the death of mobile advertising in these countries, brands should take note that Asians are sensitive about the cost of their mobile data.  And, because most internet users in the region are on mobile, consumers in Asia-Pacific will be more likely to block mobile digital content which takes up excessive bandwidth.

Best practice is then for brands to develop lightweight web and app content for the region and avoid being seen as a bandwidth hog.

In response to this trend, Baidu, Facebook, Twitter and Line all offer 'lite' versions of their apps which download less data than the full version and are optimized to work even on 2G networks.

Jeff Rajeck

Published 4 June, 2017 by Jeff Rajeck

Jeff Rajeck is the APAC Research Analyst for Econsultancy . You can follow him on Twitter or connect via LinkedIn.  

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Comments (5)

Pete Austin

Pete Austin, Founder and Author at Fresh Relevance

Just to pick up on the first point about congestion. My experience of very congested cities in Vietnam suggests the exact opposite, that congestion *encourages* out-of-home shopping trips, and people make a lot more shopping trips per day.

Whereas in Europe or the USA people might travel several miles to do a weekly shop in an out-of-town mall, in Vietnam this would be too much trouble. So instead there are huge numbers of local shops, often renting the front room of houses.

Visiting stores and other business premises is NOT a laborious task, "involving hours in traffic jams", because what actually happens is that people make lots of short "out-of-home shopping trips" to the nearest shops and restaurants, maybe less than 100m away.

Also a lot of lowtech businesses deliver to the door by bike or cart - they call or play music to signal their passing and you just step "out-of-home" to buy.

about 1 year ago

Jeff Rajeck

Jeff Rajeck, Research Analyst at EconsultancySmall Business

Thanks for the real-world info - very enlightening.

FMCGs, for one, should certainly try to position themselves to be part of that local shopping experience.

about 1 year ago

Andy Leong

Andy Leong, Digital Marketing Strategist, APAC at Hootsuite Media Inc.

Interesting article! It's eye-opening to see 58% of mobile users in Indonesia are blocking ads. Could this all be just a bandwidth issue? Or there might be more to it? And even if advertisers do develop lightweight ads, is that a good enough reason for users to turn off their ad-block?

about 1 year ago

Jeff Rajeck

Jeff Rajeck, Research Analyst at EconsultancySmall Business

You can refer to the original report (link below) for info about why people use adblocking in general - but for Indonesia, I strongly presume it is because of cost.

According to the Nikkei Asia Review, 99% of Indonesia's mobile customers are on 'pre-pay' contracts, and so the more data they download the sooner they have to top-up. Paying for data is one thing, but it's hardly surprising that they don't want to pay for ads!

about 1 year ago

Andy Leong

Andy Leong, Digital Marketing Strategist, APAC at Hootsuite Media Inc.

Thanks for the link Jeff! I will check it out.

about 1 year ago

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