Social media insight across APAC’s big 5

Business analyst Nielsen has developed an excellent report covering digital landscapes and social media usage across APAC five biggest markets – Japan, China, India, South Korea and Australia.

The report is a definite recommendation for anyone with an interest in digital within these markets – the PDF version is available here free of charge – and is part of a larger series of resources from NM Incite, a joint social media intelligence offering from Nielsen and McKinsey, details of which can be found here along with addition reports and data.

The main report is 37 pages long but a few choice picks are below with a little explanation from me.

It’s worth pointing out that no Southeast Asian countries are included in the report despite the fact that Indonesia has developed into one of the world’s largest social media influences. The big five are the traditionally most developed markets, with Indonesia and Southeast Asia representing the new kids on the block.

Social media – new in Asia?

This graph illustrates clearly just how diverse Asia is.

As recently blogged, Asia is a key growth market for a number of social networks, particularly Facebook, which are approaching saturation. Asia is hugely untapped, thanks mainly to a low internet penetration rate, with newly ‘enfranchised’ internet users joining regularly so there is a constant pool of new internet users on  the continent who can swell the ranks of social networks.

However, the above graphic clearly shows Korea, in particular, and Japan, already boast some of the world’s highest social media reach rates, which they have held since 2009.

So while “Asia” is a huge growth market, these two east Asian markets operate to a very different dynamic.

Access to social media

Another insightful graph which highlights the diversity in internet behaviour across the continent.

The likes of Thailand and Vietnam, where internet penetration rates (whilst growing) are low show a high proportion of access from work, indicating the internet has not reached critical adoption rate and is generally used by higher income individuals, many of whom hold office jobs.

However Japan and, to a lesser extent, New Zealand have a range of other factors at play including high levels of mobile internet access/usage (especially Japan) and higher levels of home internet usage, particularly New Zealand.

The tale of two social networks – Twitter and Facebook in Japan

As blogged previously Twitter is experiencing huge growth in Japan (the source of its 20 billionth tweet) while Facebook has struggled to make an impact coming up against stiff competition from domestic, Japan-focused social networks like Mixi.

This graph plots the growth, or lack of, nicely showing a critical milestone when Twitter overtook Mixi monthly traffic earlier this year.

The report has a great deal of insight from the Japanese market.

Overview of APAC diversity

This graph summarises the differences between the five markets, illustrating why ‘a policy for Asia’ doesn’t work as each market requires a unique, local approach to tap into differing consumer habits and new media consumption patterns.

This is graphic, and the report itself, is excellent however it represents the tip of the iceberg for Asia whose market ranges are hugely diverse and is by no means wholly reflective of the continent, as stated in a recent post:

‘Asia’ as a term is far less accurate than ‘The West’ given the huge cultural, financial, geographical and technology differences which exist in the region.

For example: Japan’s advanced, domestic-dominated mobile and new media market is hugely different to Thailand’s lagging mobile market and digitally divided popular, while Singapore acts like a Western state (more here) – in technology terms – with far greater advancements and more mature consumer behaviour than its neighbours.