China shows why mobile is the future of the internet

I blogged a lot about the significance of mobile in enabling new audiences to enjoy internet access.

Asia is a market which demonstrates the potential of mobile internet effectively. Though it is a vastly varied and diverse continent, many countries do not enjoy the sophisticated infrastructure that western nations (or in Asia: South Korea or Japan) possess and therefore these countries struggle to provide mass market fixed-line internet access in the same way as the west.

In Asia, mobile is more significant and for mass market consumers it truly represents a phone and computer in one.

Nowhere in Asia better demonstrates this enormous power to put mass markets on the internet than China, where it is estimated the mobile internet population could double in five years.

From Bloomberg:

China’s mobile Internet users may more than double within five years as smartphones that can browse the Web and download music become more affordable, Lee Kai-fu, the former head of Google Inc.’s China division, said.

The number of people accessing the Internet on their mobile devices in China may grow to 800 million within three to five years, from about 300 million now, Lee said today in an interview at the Beijing headquarters of Innovation Works, the technology business incubator he set up after leaving Google.

The thought that mass market users could surf the web in huge volumes over the next five years has huge implications and throws up questions such as:

Can the technology be built to provide to such large markets?

With increased participants from Asia, how will the identity of and content on the internet change over time?

Though the user experience is different on mobile, there is no doubt the platform represents the future of the internet in Asia.