In this vibrant city of Hong Kong, it is not uncommon to see nearly all the passengers on the fully packed mass transit system with their eyes focused on their mobiles – checking the weather, sending emails, sharing photos, viewing videos, watching the victory of Li Na at the Australian Open, and the list goes on.
Apart from ranking No. 1 and trumping the rest of the world as the most competitive city, Hong Kong also enjoys an incredibly high mobile penetration rate of 236 per cent. A recent Yahoo study on mobile behaviour reveals that 83 per cent of Hong Kong people use their smartphones throughout the day to fulfill their daily needs—to relax (79 per cent), kill time (70 per cent), get tasks done (65 per cent), look for information (44 per cent), and as a morning ritual (41 per cent).
Across the geographical boundaries, total worldwide smartphone users are up 27 per cent year over year. By 2017, we expect to see 3.8 billion mobile devices connected to the internet globally, almost 2 billion more than today.
Hong Kong has the key prerequisites to leverage on the prevalent wave of mobile with its high penetration of mobile and broadband. The strong sense of localisation makes this place unique and competitive, and, crucially, this is a place where e-commerce is evolving unbelievably quickly into m-commerce. Indeed, mobile is fundamentally reshaping how we as consumers spend—from entertainment and travel, to food and drinks to communication and transportation. Mobile not only influences purchase behaviour but also post-purchase opinions. It is thus helping to close the nirvana gap for brands and advertisers who seek to connect advertising to actual transactions.
The powerful convergence of mobile and the Internet helps brands and marketers connect and engage with their audiences, with an increasingly shortened and tightened transaction cycle. In Hong Kong, where people love and trust e-commerce, this creates yet another opportunity for marketers to stop beating about the bush using the traditional format of a “blind date” but to directly pull the target audience in, turning browsing into a transaction that can be completed within seconds on the small screen of a mobile. It is clear that mobile services are going to become a utility so imbued with infrastructure that we will come to expect it to be tightly integrated with everything we do.
Hong Kong and markets in Asia are in the midst of a massive shift to mobile. While a lot of western countries have been leading the progression in mobile usage, many Asian countries have been forging ahead with this development in recent years. In APAC, total mobile media spending in 2013 represented 12 per cent of all digital media spending, compared to 13 per cent on a global level.
In future, these and other innovative concepts in digital marketing will surely provide both advertisers and audiences with a cornucopia of new opportunities. So, let’s all get ready for the new age of marketing under the transformative and disruptive mobile era and stay ahead of the evolution.
Tania Lau is the marketing director of Yahoo Hong Kong
OFCA Oct 2013
 The “Emerging Market Mobile Report: Hong Kong”, Yahoo x MindShare, 2013
 emarketer – Global Media Intelligence Report – September 2013