Posts filed under ‘all asia’

Agencies of The Future

Paul (Bangkok) writes:

A glimpse of the near future, for those of us working in marketing communication?

From Trendsspotting.com:

Sapient recently sponsored a national online survey to gain insights into what marketers want from their advertising and marketing agencies in the next 12 months. The survey polled more than 200 chief marketing officers (CMOs) and senior marketing professionals.

Two points can be derived out of this survey:
I. Traditional advertising agencies are now at risk of losing their clients.
II. Agencies should acquire Social Media expertise.

For the full article: Brand Marketers aim to receive digital expertise from their advertising and  marketing agencies.

Related article: Sapient’s Top 10 Wish List for Agencies of the Future, based on their survey.

September 23, 2008 at 8:01 am 7 comments

Found in Translation

James M (MindShare, Thailand) writes: 

asiaonline.jpgToday I attended a presentation arranged by AmCham with Asia Online as Guest Speaker. Once over the initial shock of the title (Is Machine Translation Ready for Real-world Use?), I found the subject matter fascinating and wondered why it had not struck me sooner? With approximately one billion online, many of whom are comfortable with the English language, what of the next billion? The ‘next generation’ will want (and many will only be able) to interact with the web in their own language.

Dion Wiggins, CEO of Asia Online, explained how currently only 12% of all web pages are in Asian languages (mostly split between Chinese and Japanese – with Thai making up less than 0.03%). Although much was made about making technology available to the developing world, he went on (especially the Nicholas Negroponte-fronted project One Laptop per Child) little progress had been made in making the vast majority of the existing, valuable content available in anything but the English language.

In response, his company is “innovating software translation technology to deliver far more accurate results and to support many language combinations…to translate huge quantities of valuable content and make that freely available in local languages.” They are well aware of the idioms and nuances each language possesses and as such the software requires vast amounts of data (corpus) in original and translated versions from which it can learn. Assuming they are successful, the value of existing content and the ability to create new pages instantly available in multiple languages will be of huge potential to the current and ‘next billion’ Internet users.

Watch this space…

March 18, 2008 at 10:18 am 4 comments

A digitizing Bollywood? India’s first serial for mobiles

pp002bollywood-kaho-naa-pyaar-hai-posters.jpgJu (MindShare, Regional team) writes:

Hope you had a great refreshing holiday like I did and wishing everyone a superb year ahead!

I opened my inbox to find an interesting article on the distribution of content through mobile phones in India, forwarded to me by Alefiyah in MindShare Singapore who gave us the “Bollywood on Mobile” story last year. The article on the Hindustani Times, titled “India’s first serial for mobiles next month” featured another example of how Bollywood is capitalizing on digital technology to bring entertainment to the masses. Rajshri Productions, a major Bollywood production house, has created a “90-episode series, with three minutes per episode, … in the humour genre” offered to the audience via the mobile phone.

With the high penetration rate of mobile phones in the region, other developing countries in Asia-Pacific might want to keep an eye on India to see how the landscape for digital content and platforms will unfold. In the developing world, it is likely that India will lead in terms of creative ideas on producing content for new media like the Internet, mobile phones and mp3 players, given the population’s uniquely insatiable appetite for Bollywood fare.

The article reminds me a recent chat I had with a Thai security guard servicing one of my friend’s apartment in Bangkok. The guard (apparently an early adopter of trends, as my friend tells me) was trying out DTAC’s (a Thai mobile network operator) new GPRS promotion plan that offered a FREE mobile-internet-friendly Nokia phone bundled with 20 hours of downloads for 99 baht (about 3 USD). He was happily connected to the Internet with his phone through the mobile internet browser Opera, but he had one problem. He had no idea where to go to find any kind of entertainment on the Internet! I have a feeling he’d go for a Thai version of the mobile comedy series launching in India…

Read India’s first serial for mobiles next month on Hindustani Times. Thanks Alefiyah!

January 2, 2008 at 11:22 am 13 comments

Global digital stats report

David, MindShare Thailand, writes:

Fact fest for planners with a predilection for statistical summaries.

wisr2007cover.JPG
To add to the recent post about the new APAC internet study, anyone seriously interested in how the Big Switch will play out around Asia might want to invest a couple of hours in ploughing through the ITU / UNCTAD (International Telecommunication Union / United Nations Conference on Trade and Development) World Information Society Report 2007

It isn’t a relaxing read for the beach (tough luck, Western bloggers, the good weather’s on its way to Asia now). But the world-at-a-glance statistics and maps offer authoritative back-up for anyone working on multi-market digital strategies: “If you don’t like my numbers, go argue with the United Nations”.

asia-pacific_wisr07-blog123.jpg

While we’re on statistics, it’s self-evident that the wealthiest nations have the highest take-up of broadband. So what sense does it make to charge the highest subscription charges in markets where the public can least afford it? MuniWireless.com posted this piece a couple of months ago.

broadbandprice.jpg

October 12, 2007 at 7:54 am 2 comments

Asian youth and the mobile phone

Ju (MindShare, Regional Insights) writes:

mobilelife.jpgThe mobile phone has become an indispensible equipment for Asian youth. PwC’s 2007 survey of nearly 8,000 of their staff from 17 countries around the world (78% aged between 16-34 yrs) revealed a whopping 98% mobile penetration rate in Asia-Pacific countries, with a significantly lower 62% fixed-line penetration rate.

The first Asia Scout Network pan-regional summary report by MindShare is therefore dedicated to the mobile phone – how mobiles mold the lifestyles of Asian youth and vice versa.  Findings are based on updates on the Asia Scout Network blog from our city scouts in Tokyo, Singapore, Jakarta, Bangkok, Sydney, Shanghai, and Kuala Lumpur.

The headlines are:
1) Asian youth pimp their mobiles
2) Mobilizing communities
3) Japan’s contagious QR codes
4) Mobile multimedia gains momentum
5) Making ‘Hero’ features visible
6) What lies beyond

Download the full report:asia-scout-network-the-mobile-life.pdf

August 28, 2007 at 3:00 am 2 comments

APAC Internet Usage study reveals less time spent on Net than the West

Praveen (MindShare, Bangalore) writes:

We know how Internet usage is increasing across the region. comScore’s first comprehensive review of Asia-Pacific Internet Usage comes up with a few interesting findings.

One, Netizens in APAC spend less time on the Net when compared to the West. But it does vary across countries – ranging from less than half an hour daily in India to more than 1 hr/day among the South Koreans.

Two, Yahoo sites are the most popular in the region, unlike Google, which leads in the worldwide stakes.

comscoresmall.jpg

*Excludes traffic from public computers such as Internet cafes or access from mobile phones or PDAs.
**Estimated Users age 15+ active within 30 days from Home or Work computer as a percentage of total country population age 15+.
*** Total Asia-Pacific, including countries other than the 10 countries that comScore provides individual country-level reporting

July 25, 2007 at 9:01 am 6 comments

Digital trends in Thailand, Asia-Pacific, and beyond

Peck (MindShare, Bangkok) writes:

PWC’s “Convergence Monitor” survey shows that Thailand has the one of the largest number of social networking (virtual networking and blogging) users in Asia, second only to China which has more than 85% of respondents having engaged in social networking at least once while Thailand has 71%.

Chatting, instant messaging, and downloading digital music are popular services among Thai internet users. 90% of respondents have used chatting or instant messaging at least once, and 87% have downloaded music through the internet at least once, expecting to see higher growth along with increase demand for broadband internet. However, online banking and online shopping are not as popular in Thailand as they are in other Asia Pacific countries. For example, while 39% of Singaporean respondents stated that they had used online banking and shopping at least once, only 8% of Thai respondents had done so.

Download the full report titled “Convergence Monitor: The Digital Home” here.

Examples of popular Thai blogs and blogging platforms:

www.bloggang.com

top-blogs.jpg

http://vip-galz.storythai.com/

blog-example.jpg

June 19, 2007 at 10:07 am 12 comments

36 (Asian) Youth Facts in 159 Seconds

Ju (MindShare, Regional Team) writes:

The threebillion project put together a fascinating video on behalf of MTV Asia for the Music Matters Conference in Hong Kong late May ’07. The video features 36 facts dedicated to Asian youth in 159 seconds.

From threebillion: Whether it be teenage marriage in India, mobile phone usage in Japan, Filipino TV watching or Saudi Arabian Bluetooth porn, each market is rich it’s own brand of youth culture. This video is dedicated to the best thirty six facts we could find.

For those still waiting for the day the internet is free from censorship, here are all the facts and some screen captures of the video, courtesy of Global Nerdy.

youth-facts3.jpg

  • There are 3 billion people under 25 on this planet
  • 61% of them live in Asia
  • 67% of young Asians have downloaded music in the last month
  • Only 27% paid for it
  • Hong Kong youth spend the most time online per day (4.7 hours)
  • Indonesian youth spend the least (0.9 hours)
  • Young Filipinos watch the most TV per day (6.2 hours)
  • Young Chinese watch the least (3.2 hours)
  • There are 37.5 million gamers in China
  • 90% play online games
  • Weekly, Korean teenagers will spend
    • 14 hours on the computer…
    • .12.8 hours watching TV
    • 0.7 hours reading newspapers
  • Taiwan has the highest teenage birthrate in Asia
  • South Korea has the lowest
  • 45% of young Japanese women said they were in love
  • Only 30% of young Japanese men said the same
  • 82% of Japanese teen males said they used contraception the first time they had sex
  • Only 12% of Japanese 20-year-olds use the home PC to access the internet — the same level as 50-year-olds — they’re using their mobile phones instead
  • 26% of all youth deaths in China are from suicide
  • In India, 50% of girls will be married before they are 18
  • In Nepal, the rate is 60%
  • 85% of Korean teenagers own a cell phone
  • They send an average of 60 messages per day
  • 46% of students send messages in class
  • “Our children are seriously addicted to cell phones” — Parent’s Union Spokesperson
  • Chinese people spend 10x more money on the internet than people in the west
  • It represents 10% of their monthly income
  • Who prefers a laid-back hassle-free lifestyle?
    • 14% of Chinese teens
    • 22% of South Korean teens
    • 43% of Japanese teens
  • 99% of Saudi teens use Bluetooth
  • 99% said that the device had broken social taboos
  • 85% said it was safe for communication with the opposite sex
  • 69% of messages exchanged by Saudi teens were pornographic

June 18, 2007 at 1:31 pm 4 comments

As Streetwear Peaks in Bangkok…

street1.jpgJu (MindShare, Regional Team) writes:

“With a surfer’s business model, Harajuku aesthetic, and uniquely independent American attitude, the message of streetwear speaks to a global youth audience.”Theme Magazine, “X-Pollination of Streetwear”

At The Esplanade, another mall that has recently sprouted up in Bangkok, there is huge fenced-off, under-construction section that promised a space for Zoo York, Ed Hardy, Reef, Emily The Strange, and the likes of other such streetwear brands.

Streetwear is part of street culture, the definition of which is difficult to articulate and often subject to debate. On a superficial level, street culture is united through the elements of hip-hop, skate/surf culture, graffiti arts, print designs, and an obsession for limited editions. At its more meaningful core, it manifests the values of individuality, rebellion, sexiness, originality, freedom, and a sense of exclusive smallness, dressed up in a certain aesthetics, tone, music and attitude that only those ‘in the know’ can decode.

As I walked by that section at The Esplanade, I couldn’t help thinking of the principles of trend research, as a paper written eight years ago by Flamingo International on forward-looking trend research (Complacency Kills: Protecting Levi’s Cool Mindshare) articulates very well:

…one of the effects of skate culture, a culture both marginal and increasingly aspirational for the mainstream, has been the growth in non-denim workwear and combats, from brands such as Carhartt, Dickie’s, Homeboy, Stoopid. The Early Adopter credibility of these brands depends on their smallness, to the extent that once they become big they are left to the mainstream, as the leading edge goes off in search of more underground brands. The short lifecycle of these brands feeds into consumer perceptions that they can keep finding cool, new, small brands (indeed, smallness becomes a prerequisite for coolness and acceptability).

Assuming this, could the fact that these ‘underground’ brands now have a big, clear presence in a mall and are thus more accessible and recognized by the mainstream erode their ‘cool equity’ in the minds of Bangkok’s true leading edge youth?

As streetwear travels from its fringe origins with local Californian surfer Shawn Stussy in 1980, mutating and cross-pollinating around the globe (more on the journey of streetwear here), the type that eventually lands with a grand entrance at one of Bangkok’s latest shopping malls 27 years later is also likely to attract a mainstream group who buy more into the hype rather than into the lifestyle or the attitude of the brand. This risks chipping away at the brand’s youth credibility in the long run even as sales volume rises.

For any mass brand striving to become a part of youth’s ‘cool’ ground (or maintain it), it may useful to consider this ‘Early Adopter’ strategy put forth in Flamingo’s paper:

As a mass brand, in the sense that the brand enjoys high volume sales, it has been central… to retain cool mindshare by specifically not targeting the mainstream. As a brand which has to achieve credibility above all with the key 15-19 male target, it is essential that the brand be seen to be part of the target’s world, initiating trends from within, rather than merely ‘decorating’ that world. This means aiming ideally to stay ahead of the core target, but at least to match them…

….Media is not only chosen on the basis of penetration, GRPs, etc. Cool mindshare depends on…maintaining a discreet dialogue with the most opinion-leading core target: this means having a credible low-key presence in selected media… ensuring that opinion-leading youth feel they have access to communication coming from the brand which is less accessible to the mainstream.

June 18, 2007 at 3:58 am 1 comment

Marketers need to take note of Peter Pan complex

Sanchayeeta (MindShare, Delhi) writes:

Evolutionary psychiatrist, Dr Bruce Charlton, has brought to light an important phenomenon, that of ‘psychological neoteny’, i.e. the persistence of childhood behavior into adulthood, as discussed in this New York Times article.

I chanced upon this in Michael Crichton’s latest novel based on genetic engineering, NEXT. Crichton has interspersed the book with various articles on genetic research, one of which was on the Peter Pan complex, i.e. psychological neoteny.

Neoteny is a by product of two things – our system of formal education that lasts well into the twenties and requires a child like stance of receptivity & the rapid social change that we have seen over the past few decades. Markers of maturity such as graduation from college, marriage and first child formerly occurred at fixed ages, but now may happen over a span of decades. Therefore some modern people, in the psychological sense, never actually become adults!

The childlike flexibility helps navigating the modern world. Such people are more likely to change jobs, learn new skills, and move to new places. They also have short attention spans and are frenetic sensation & novelty and seekers.

Second Life, the 3D virtual world built and owned entirely by its residents, seems to be a very good manifestation of neoteny.

Since opening to the public in 2003, Second Life has grown explosively and today is inhabited by a total of 4,673,911 residents from around the globe. There are a fair number of people who make part or their entire real world living by being a creator in Second Life.

As per the economic statistics of Second Life, updated March 31, 2007, there were 1 million active residents in the last 30 days; 16 million square meters of land for sale for the day and a total Linden dollar supply of 2 billion (equivalent to 8 million US dollars, 250 L$ ~ 1 USD).

Seekers of frenetic novelty can never be disappointed on Second Life.

‘Psychological neoteny’ seems to be intuitively right. We see signs of it all around…people buying mobile phones ever more frequently; iPodinomics, the success of YouTube . . .

Marketers and communication experts need to take note of psychological neoteny. And, more importantly, understand how to satisfy this ‘pursuit of novelty’ as people stay younger longer, maybe forever.

April 4, 2007 at 2:23 am 7 comments

Asian budget airlines and Global Nomads

globalnomads.jpg

Ju (MindShare, Regional) writes:

The Internet and digital media have created a social environment where information flows freely and fluidly across geographical boundaries. However, they are not the only drivers. The growth of low-cost airlines is set to become another factor that fuels this phenomenon. By offering mobility, budget airlines will be playing an important role in facilitating the cross-country exchange of information and content in an offline, organic manner.

The New Zealand Herald talks of how “Budget air fares make a reality of one Europe“, giving examples of how budget airlines “are drawing a new map of how people and money travel in Europe“.

Can the same happen to Asia? Or will regional geography even matter, in the long run?

After it transformed air travel in South East Asia, Air Asia is now driving the “worldwide trend for [budget airlines] to move towards a long haul, low cost model” with the launch of Air Asia X, its sister brand for transcontinental flights based on the same low cost principles.

From Newsweek’s “Low Cost, Long Hop” story:

Come July, Air Asia X plans to launch its inaugural service between Kuala Lumpur and the United Kingdom with roundtrip fares starting at around $80 for early bookings. The plan is a network of budget routes linking Asia to Europe and eventually North America. Nor is X the only budget carrier pushing the distance envelope. In October Oasis Hong Kong Airlines launched daily low-cost service to London, and over Christmas sold round-trip passages for as little as $300. Its twist on the model is a lavish business class with seats priced two-thirds lower than Hong Kong flagship Cathay Pacific. And it, too, plans new routes to Europe, the United States and Canada.

While this will touch the lives of many consumer classes, one that will surely be affected is the youth segment, with over one-quarter of all travellers classified in the youth market (ASEAN tourism ministers aim for more young travellers), and growth expectations at 20 to 30% annually (Youth is the key in tourism: forum).

Indeed, youth are well-equipped with the technological savvy that eases the pain of leisure traveling, from milking the Internet’s vast database to seek out new destinations and plan their travels and for online bookings, to using SMS and Internet cafes to keep in touch with families and friends (Today’s student traveler start younger and go further)

Threebillion.com is tracking all this, calling it the “Global Nomad Series” (try searching ‘global nomads’ there).

Since Asian youth are already taking advantage of the online world to connect to global movements like cosplay and sneaker culture, it wouldn’t be too hard to imagine them doing the same thing with the budget airlines, using the cheaper air fares to help fuel their passions, connecting their online and offline worlds. In the future, maybe there will be more hard-core cosplayers flying over to the World Cosplay Summit‘s preliminary competition. Or more sneakerheads in Asia checking out the Sneaker Pimps World Tour.

From a social perspective, this implies that the transfer of trends will be catalyzed in terms of speed, breadth, depth, and local adaptation. To illustrate, look no further than Bangkok party organizer DudeSweet’s cult-like following of the London indie music scene and their interpretation of it into bands, parties, art events, CD’s, clothes, bars, and magazines.

March 1, 2007 at 1:27 pm 3 comments

Australian bank invents iPodinomics

ipodcash.jpg

Paul (MindShare, Bangkok) writes:

The famous Big Mac Index, developed by the Economist Magazine over 20 yrs ago, now has a new challenger in the form of the Ipod. Burgernomics is based on the theory of purchasing-power parity, the notion that a dollar should buy the same amount in all countries.

The people at Commenwealth Securities in Australia believe that their IPod Index is superior to the Big Mac index for a number of reasons. Read more here: The CommSec iPod Index.

Here’s how Asia compares:

CommSec iPod nano index, 2 gigabytes, US dollars, January 2007

Brazil $327.71
India $222.27
Sweden $213.03
Denmark $208.25
Belgium $205.81
France $205.80
Finland $205.80
Ireland $205.79
UK $195.04
Austria $192.86
Netherlands $192.86
Spain $192.86
Italy $192.86
Germany $192.46
China $179.84
Korea $176.17
Switzerland $175.59
NZ $172.53
Australia $172.36
Taiwan $164.88
Singapore $161.25
Mexico $154.46
US $149.00
Japan $147.63
Hong Kong $147.63

February 13, 2007 at 2:34 pm 1 comment

Global economic power will shift to the East

David (MindShare Thailand) writes:

Three links to items about the other Big Switch – the unremitting eastward shift of global economic power, which Goldman Sachs predict could lead to the Indian economy overtaking first the UK’s within 10 years and then the USA’s by mid-century. The two Big Switches are inseparable.

“Indian economy to overtake UK”

” Multinationals lead India’s IT revolution”

indiadavid.JPG

“Globalisation shakes the world”

india2.JPG


February 3, 2007 at 2:58 pm 1 comment

The big switch in news – shifting control to the consumer

news-plane.jpg

Ashutosh (MindShare regional, Singapore) writes: 

Is the user-generated content revolution going to make the old business model of news redundant ? We are beginning to see some interesting developments in the business of news.  

I recently had an interesting discussion with a leading publisher on how online distribution channels are beginning to change consumer behaviour when it comes to news consumption, and how the profile of the consumer who still buys a ‘paper’ newspaper is getting skewed to the generation on the other side of 30. And similarly for news broadcast formats. 

And what is he doing? Hiring 18 year olds to create a supplement for teens in his same old newspaper, which is apparently now being read by anxious parents of these teens to find out what the younger generation is upto! But the teens still don’t read his newspaper!  The old-fashioned way of producing news via a bunch of people who write or present news with their own (or sometimes organisational) biased perspective is distinctly unappealing and therefore does not connect with the younger generation.  There is also a view that the best news experience is a shared social experience and therefore we will soon see the rapid rise of user generated news as well, and I tend to agree with this.   I recently registered at an interesting website http://www.YourNewsDay.com which claims to be a ‘global user generated content site on news, with no agenda, political or geographic bias’. It has set itself up as ‘open to everyone in the world to reflect their news – personal, local, national, and international – and share it with the world’. Check out this article at Contagious Magazine. 

There are other experiments going on, some of which have caught on while others are struggling.  For instance, Findory is a personalised general news service which has not really caught on, unlike Digg (which postions itself as user-powered content), Techmeme and Memeorandum which focus on narrowly defined niches (technology, politics etc). For more on this, read Scott Karp’s article on Is news a fundamentally shared social experience. 

What does this mean to the Rupert Murdochs of the world and how will it affect their businesses? I am sure they are waiting and watching…

January 25, 2007 at 3:58 pm 1 comment

Porn video glasses from Taiwan – a coming trend

 vid-glasses-guy.jpg 

James (MindShare regional team, Singapore) writes: 

At first I laughed at this Digital Journal article Watch porn in public with new video glasses. It’s well-known that the porn industry often pioneers new technology – VHS, internet payment, broadband video sites.

But it wasn’t until I just listened to Ross Dawson’s excellent podcast interview where he discussed video glasses and fold-out screens, that I grasped the underlying importance of this technology, especially for our business… 

First the news: 

Visitors at the AVN Adult Entertainment Expo held this week were asked by Victor Quitoriano to try out a new technology that allows for intimate video viewing session complete with audio through an ear piece.

The model was shown at the Sands Exposition Center just a day earlier.“Our technology crosses over,” Quitoriano told AFP. “The videos we showed there weren’t porn, because we didn’t want to offend anybody. Here, it’s different. Imagine you can take your porn all over the place; in a plane or a train, but not in the car unless you are the passenger.

The new glasses are made in Taiwan and sold by Quitoriano’s California based company Body Care and connect to all the latest video playing devices including Xbox 360 and PS3 game consoles as well as iPods and Zune mp3 players. The new models being shown cost about $349.00 but were discounted for show-goers. 

I’ve never heard of video glasses before, but a quick google search revealed a number of new products in the market, such as this review for a brand called iTheater. Here’s some highlights of that product and a photo:

  • weighs 3 ounces.
  • video is at a 230,000 pixel resolution
  • audio is surround sound.
  • hook up your game consoles, DVD players, computers, iPod (video), or other video playing players.
  • Like playing games or watching your DVDs on a 50 inch screen.

itheater-glasses.jpgSo what’s the significance? Very soon our mobile phones, video iPods and other devices will be capable of storing many hours of content. Online gaming can be played. TV can be streamed to devices. Already in Korea millions are watching TV on their mobile devices.

One of the main arguments against adoption of mobile TV has been the uncomfortable experience of ‘staring at a small screen’. With video glasses, and roll-out or fold-out screens, that potential adoption barrier will also be removed.

 To understand more of the implications of consuming content on the go, and especially mobile social networking, you should read Ross Dawson’s blog entry and listen to the podcast.

January 25, 2007 at 3:26 pm 2 comments

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