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Malaysian firm ventures into global mobile app space

AvantiKumar | Oct. 12, 2011
Interview: Malaysia's Mexcomm talks about its role in the local and global mobile application stage.

While Apple may be best known for mobile applications, BlackBerry, Android and other devices also have a huge range of applications available in their stores, as well as in those operated by mobile service providers. To get a better sense of what's popular and what's not now, Nielsen recently launched its 'App Playbook,' surveying more than 4,200 people who had downloaded an application in the past 30 days.


How big is the mobile messaging market in Malaysia? And what opportunities do you see for Mexcomm here?

We forecast that total mobile subscribers in Malaysia will increase from 30.4 million in 2009 to 45.4 million in 2014. According to MCMC's (government regulator Malaysian Communications & Multimedia Commission's) latest statistics for quarter three, 2010, the penetration rate for mobile phones for Malaysians stood at 111.16 percent. Malaysians are using their mobile phones more than ever. Also, Malaysian mobile phone users are getting more sophisticated and are ranked as one of Asia Pacific's most affluent and sophisticated when it comes to online shopping using mobile devices.


What is the outlook for mobile commerce, payment and banking in Malaysia?

Mobile commerce is not just connecting big businesses but also small business and consumers on a massive scale. With the proliferation of mobile devices, we predict that a lot more tech-savvy Malaysians are going to embrace mobile commerce and mobile banking. Hence, Mexcomm is bullish about the market opportunities for mobile applications from the banking and finance sector as well as retail sectors. Consumers are changing their behaviour and expectations, businesses are changing the way they do business, and mobile phones are enabling these changes to happen on a global scale.

From PayPal's 'PayPal Online and Mobile Shopping Insights Study - Malaysia 2011' conducted by The Nielsen Company, more than 254,000 Malaysian online shoppers spent RM100 million (US$32 million) on their mobile devices in 2010. The top activity for mobile shoppers in 2010 was paying the bills on the go (22 percent), followed by buying low-priced items such as movie tickets (21 percent), books (15 percent) and movie/music/game downloads (14 percent) which led to an average mobile spend per head of RM388 (US$124) in the past year. With this huge potential, Mexcomm is continuously developing niche mobile applications to tap into these markets.


What is Mexcomm's view on mobile messaging 2.0 and its future?

The new generation of messaging technology is transforming the one-size-fits-all Short Message Service (SMS) to user-defined, rich-media messaging where users have much control over how they communicate with others. Users now want more control over how they communicate with each other. Mobile operators are now looking to increase their margins associated with messaging by introducing premium-based SMS services or pushing SMS users higher up the value chain onto MMS and other value-added services (mobile social networking, mobile applications, and the mobile Internet). Currently, every individual can be reached via their personal mobile device. Some even have more than one mobile device as well. This shows that the mobile device is able to reach the target audience easily. Most organisations today have not taken any steps towards integration; hence, this means that there is still room for expansion.


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