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Chatting up a Smart Nation: How will we connect in 2015?

Poshu Yeung, Vice President of International Business Group, Tencent | Jan. 7, 2015
How we interact with others and share content has been changing, in large part due to the increasingly important role the Internet, social media and mobile phones play in our lives.

The Internet and social media have played a big part in changing how content is created, distributed and consumed. Close to half of the world's population is now connected to the Internet, while the number of connected devices is expected to rise to 26 billion by 2020. Singapore, in particular, stands out as one of the most connected countries in the world, with smartphone penetration at 85%. It is indeed, a status befitting of a young nation that has been dubbed Asia's innovation capital, which is on an ambitious path towards becoming the world's first smart nation.

From face-to-face to mobile phone calls or via social media, the way people are interacting with each other is evolving by leaps and bounds. So, what changes - in the way we chat and connect - can we expect to see in 2015, as Singapore comes together to celebrate her 50th jubilee?

Singaporeans are adopting a mobile-first mentality

A recent study by GlobalWebIndex (GWI), a market research company specialising in online consumer behaviour, revealed that mobile networking, or the act of logging onto social media via a mobile phone, is booming. Close to half of all internet users in Asia Pacific are now logging onto social networks via their mobile phones, and it is no surprise that Singaporeans have a mobile-first mentality with our high smartphone penetration.

Multi-device internet access remains the prevailing trend in this region, in today's mobile-first reality. And this is a trend that will be increasingly reflected across social networking platforms and activities. Mobile Internet and the adoption of smartphones are already deeply entrenched into our everyday lives, with people becoming increasingly active on their mobile devices and communicating via various messaging services. In fact, the same GWI study pointed out that a large percentage of those surveyed feel more insecure without their mobile phone than their wallet.

Passive social media users gravitating to mobile messaging

While social networks such as Facebook continue to reign in Singapore, the way people are interacting on Facebook as well as other major social networks is changing. People are doing fewer things on social media. Instead, they are becoming more passive in character - looking at newsfeeds than actively contributing.

On the other hand, the number of people using mobile messaging apps are booming - climbing from around 450 million at the end of 2012 to well over 600 million as we approach the end of 2014. Conversations that used to take place on traditional social networks could now be moving towards messaging services instead. With increasingly user-centric content on mobile messaging apps, users can do whatever they used to do a social network, even sharing with their friends their current mood or frame of mind, albeit in a more closed setting.


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