In 2015, China alone will account for one billion mobile phone users in Asia-Pacific, according to a recent eMarketer report produced in conjunction with Starcom Mediavest Group. The report projects that there will be 2.51 billion mobile phone users in the region in 2015, who will account for 62.5 per cent of the population. This figure is expected to rise to 69.4 per cent by 2019. The growth in smartphone usage will drive the growth in internet access for the region.
There is wide variation in the internet access rates in the Asia-Pacific region. Countries such as China, India and Indonesia have a digital divide between urban populations who have high internet access levels and rural areas which lack the infrastructure to support it. However, despite these limitations, the internet access growth in the region is predicted to be 8.2 per cent in 2015 and then remain around seven per cent till 2019.
The adoption of smartphones will continue apace. About 40.8 per cent of the population in the region will have a smartphone in 2015, although the penetration rates vary widely among individual countries.
The number of smartphone users in the region will cross just over 1 billion this year. By 2019, the number will reach 1.48 billion accounting for 51.5 per cent of the mobile phone users in the region.
The report also highlighted that the smartphone market in China is slowing down now and India is emerging as the largest potential growth market for adoption of the devices.
The smartphone uptake across the region can be attributed to the proliferation of cheaply manufactured devices and a drop in the cost of service plans in particular markets, according to the report.
Asia-Pacific will retain its title as the fastest-growing economic region in the world over the next few years, the report highlights.
Another interesting finding of the study was that as China alone accounts for 28.3 per cent of all smartphone users on the planet, the market has gone through its most dramatic growth period, and there are now signs that it is maturing.
The study estimates that 38.6 per cent of residents in China will own a smartphone in 2015, for a user base of 525.8 million. By 2019, that figure will reach 687.7 million—almost half (49.8 per cent) of the population will own a smartphone and use it at least once per month.