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article imageHong Kong remains world’s most connected place

By Lucky Malicay     May 12, 2016 in Lifestyle
Hong Kong remains the most connected place in the world, according to a recent study conducted by the GfK Connected Consumer Index.
But the Chinese autonomous territory is the only Asia-Pacific area in the top 10 of the GfK survey, which is dominated by six European countries. The region’s most developed countries like Singapore, Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand and Taiwan did not fare well.
In the study, Hong Kong is followed by North America (United States, Canada and Mexico) and the United Arab Emirates.
Ranked eighth in 2015, the UAE is fast catching up, climbing five notches in the survey. The UAE and Saudi Arabia (6th) are the only countries from the Middle East in the top 10.
Other countries on the top 10 list are Norway (4th), Germany (5th), Great Britain (7th), Switzerland (8th), Denmark (9th) and Sweden (10th).
The GfK survey compared the popularity of devices such as smartphones, tablets, desktop PCs, smart home tools and other modern gadgets in 78 countries.
“We are seeing some macro trend increases in connectivity across all countries. For high growth markets, especially across the Middle East, Africa and emerging APAC, the dominant trend remains smartphone adoption. This is the primary device - and often the first device - for consumers to connect to data services. This trend is likely to remain dominant for the next two to three years as price reductions mean that over one billion consumers will be able to afford to connect with a personal device for the first time,” said Kevin Walsh, director of trends and forecasting at GfK.
“For developed markets, primarily Western Europe and North America, the growth drivers have already moved to the next wave of consumer connectivity. Wearables are leading the way, together with connected cars – and both these are providing new consumer benefits. Smart home technology is an equally significant opportunity, but expected to be slower and steadier in terms of the consumer adoption curve.”
Hong Kong has fast Internet speed and modern IT infrastructure covering almost all commercial and residential buildings with a household broadband penetration rate of 82.8 percent as of August 2014. Its mobile phone penetration rate is among the world’s highest at 237.3 percent.
In Asia-Pacific, the “growth drivers have already moved to the next wave of consumer connectivity – wearables are now the ‘in thing’, together with connected cars,” said Stanley Kee, managing director for Southeast Asia at GfK.
“Pricing reductions means smartphones will become even more affordable and within reach of increasing number of consumers, who will be able to own and connect with a personal device for the first time,” he added.
In Southeast Asia, aside from Singapore, where consumers are among the most connected in the world, Malaysia and Thailand are also doing well in the global ranking.
Last month, the Malaysian government announced a three-year plan to turn the capital Kuala Lumpur into one of the world’s most connected cities. An official said the plan is not just to improve the IT infrastructure and the Internet speed but to promote tourism and the economy as well.
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