Last time I had a long interview section with serial entrepreneur Paul Srivorakul on his entrepreneurship path and How to build a regional startup in Southeast Asia. Now he’s also sharing his quick thought on mobile commerce. Let’s catch his mind.
What do you think about m-commerce in Southeast Asia?
Everyone talks about how China and India are going to be the next big thing in mobile which is not surprising because of how massive those markets are. However, if you normalize the numbers and look at mobile phone and mobile Internet adoption rates, SEA is actually the more interesting case.
Take Thailand for example, where mobile phone adoption has skyrocketed in the recent years with the latest numbers outpacing US and China in terms of mobile cell phone penetration. Unburdened by a desktop Internet legacy and driven by ever lower costs of smartphone manufacturing, cell phone adoption in Thailand has accelerated to a point where the average Thai person has 1.4 mobile phones or 140% adoption. Compare this to US and China, which are “only” seeing 91% and 77% adoption rates.
Also, mobile Internet penetration in Thailand has jumped from a mere 1% in 2009 to a whopping 56% in 2013, with the bulk of the growth coming right after the country’s official 3G launch in early 2013. Mobile Internet adoption in Thailand beats mature markets such as US and China which stand at 40% and 34%.
Note: AIS and TRUE are rolling out their 4G services after paying more than 2 billion US dollars for the license.
And what should startups/corporates do to catch m-commerce trend in this region?
As a result, we see companies like Line going aggressively into mobile commerce with initiatives such as Line Flash Sale, Line Hot Deal, and Line Shopping.
We’ve also seen media/Internet companies like Pinterest, Facebook and Google going into commerce for monetization. Google had “Purchases on Google” enabling buy buttons on mobile. The same time, Facebook started testing digital stores with a buy button for Facebook Pages, joining the ranks of Twitter and Pinterest who ventured into buy buttons. All these firms are looking into eCommerce as an additional albeit lucrative revenue stream.
Ecommerce companies are also realizing this shift towards mobile commerce and are quickly adapting. For example, Lazada, who now gets over 50% of their traffic from mobile channels, was one of the first eCommerce companies in Southeast Asia to launch a mobile app on both iOS and Android. Others such as SaleStockIndonesia are following Flipkart and foregoing desktop eCommerce altogether by offering only a mobile web-optimized shopping experience.
How about your view? Please do share your thought in the comment section!