We Are Social Asia Tuesday TuneUp #9


Happy 2012 everyone! After the merry feasting over Christmas and smashing (in more ways than one) New Year’s Eve countdown, it’s back to work in making this new year even bigger and better than before. 2011 has been quite the whirlwind year in social, digital and mobile, so let’s take a look at the big stories that concluded the year with a bang, and those that are paving the way ahead.

All restaurants in Malaysia’s capital to provide free Wi-Fi, by law
Come April 2012, all restaurants in Malaysia’s capital Kuala Lumpur will be required to provide free Wi-Fi. This new law will also apply to cafes, pubs, bars and club lounges, as long as they occupy 120 square metres or more. Even though patrons of these establishments will likely welcome the free Wi-Fi, it seems slightly extreme for this provision to be made mandatory by the law.

Free public Wi-Fi introduced in Bangkok
In another part of South East Asia, free public Wi-Fi will be made available to users in Thailand’s capital city Bangkok. 40,000 hotspots will be installed by the end of 2012, with estimated web access speeds of 2Mbps. Besides these wireless networks, the government aims to boost high-speed broadband access across Thailand such that 80% of the country will be able to connect to a faster web.

This is a great initiative to improve Thailand’s Internet penetration, which currently stands at 27%, but locals seem to remain sceptical of this free service given Thailand’s slow adoption of 3G mobile technology, and slow Internet speeds of current hotspots in Bangkok. Given that mobile penetration exceeds 100%, the majority of users accessing the free public Wi-Fi through their mobile devices will still benefit greatly, regardless of fast or slow web access speeds.

Find out what’s trending on Sina Weibo, even if you can’t read Mandarin
In order to provide a glimpse of the hot topics on popular Chinese microblog Sina Weibo to those unversed in Mandarin, University of Hong Kong’s Journalism and Media Studies Centre (JMSC) created WeiboScope, a website that allows users to perform a visual search for trending issues on Sina Weibo. Users can either search through a gallery of ‘retweets’ that contain images within the last 24 hours, or perform a direct keyword search through Google Translate. After all, photos transcend words, and can be universally interpreted.

What happens every 60 seconds on the Internet
These are just some of the incredible things that occur every single minute on the web. In 60 seconds, there are more than 20,000 new posts on Tumblr, about 13,000 iPhone applications downloaded, 600 odd new videos uploaded on YouTube, 6,600 new pictures uploaded on Flickr, 98,000 tweets or so, 695,000 Facebook status updates and 510,040 comments, and even more mind-blowing events. We sure are living our lives in the fast lane, online.

What happens every 60 seconds on the Chinese Internet
Similarly, the Internet activities occurring in China every minute are astounding as well. In 60 seconds, 227,000 ‘tweets’ are posted on Sina Weibo, 30,000 virtual ‘Q coins’ are spent on Tencent social games, Taobao achieves 3 million RMB in sales volume, and 5.55 million online ads are viewed.

Online shopping in China in 2011
2011 was a big year for China in terms of online shopping and e-commerce. 200 million Chinese were expected to have shopped online, spurring an estimated 7 trillion RMB in online shopping transactions. Taobao Mall was the market leader in B2C e-commerce with 51% market share, followed by 360Buy with 19%.

2011 Mobile Year in Review
2011 was the year of mobile, and this phenomenon will well continue into 2012. In all, 8 trillion text messages were sent, Facebook saw 350 million mobile users, 103 million wireless tweets were sent per day, 1 billion check-ins on Foursquare, and 1 billion mobile apps downloaded worldwide each month. All in a year’s work.

Top tech trends of 2011
This infographic by G+ sums up the top tech trends of 2011. In particular, we see group-buying take-off in the form of Groupon, which expanded its international reach even as its Chinese site Gaopeng suffered. Geolocation apps also increased in popularity, with Foursquare claiming 15 million users while Gowalla was acquired by Facebook. Crowdsourcing through the likes of Quora and crowdfunding initiatives such as Kickstarter also took root.