Asia's diverse cultures, languages and levels of economic development have always made it an exciting place to work.
Now, however, Asia's wide range of digital ecosystems have created wildly divergent virtual worlds that few people understand. These virtual worlds are, however, having a very real impact on Asias economics, politics and culture.
I run Ogilvy's team of social media specialists in Asia and created this video for an internal meeting to show some recent developments across the region.
Countries in Asia with a similar level of development can have extremely different ways of approaching the Internet. In Korea, broadband connections are available virtually everywhere, while Japan's Internet population is highly reliant on mobile.
Strong digital ecosystems are not only present in the most developed countries in Asia. In fact, Indonesia will soon overtake the United Kingdom as the second largest Facebook population in the world.
The average youth in China has more friends online than offline, while Australia has one of the highest levels of social media engagement in the world. Australians spend an average of 6 hours and 52 minutes a month on Social Media.
Most of China's social media users are spread across three main social media Websites: Kaixin (30 million accounts), Renren (40 million accounts), and QQ (376 million accounts).
Chinese netizens use domestic social media rather than international versions like Facebook primarily due to government blockage of foreign social media, but also cultural preferences.
In Asia, Internet life is highly mobile:
· Vietnam had an 846 percent growth of mobile Internet users in 2009.
· In Japan, 84.3 percent of the population goes on the Internet with a mobile phone.
· In Taiwan, 73.3 percent of mobile Internet users have 3G.
· The population of smartphone owners in Hong Kong is 48.6 percent.
Asia's social media sites also have diverse source of revenue. In contrast to Facebook, the primary revenue source for many Asia social media sites is the sale of virtual items online.
Facebook, QQ, Mixi, and Cyworld collectively generate $392 million (USD) in revenue a year from the sale of virtual goods in the Asian online market.