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Hongers and Singers top for tablets

Asian cities show peerless penetration

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Tech-mad Hong Kong and Singapore have the highest percentage of tablet and smartphone users in the world, according to a sweeping new global study from telcoms equipment vendor Ericsson.

The Swedish firm interviewed 47,500 internet users aged between 16 and 60 in 58 countries in the first quarter of the year, Chinese news service Xinhua said.

Hong Kong came out top of the tablets with 34 per cent of web users saying they owned one, while in Singapore the penetration rate was a fraction less at 31 per cent.

However, the Lion City could be about to storm ahead of its old rival, according to Vishnu Singh, regional head of Ericsson ConsumerLab.

Singh told Xinhua that tablet penetration there would almost double by the end of the year to nearly 60 per cent.

When it comes to smartphones, Singapore also edges out Hong Kong although just by one percentage point – 74 per cent versus 73 per cent. The UAE is the surprise third placed country, with 64 per cent of adults there owning a smartphone.

It’s not a massive shock to see Singapore and Hong Kong, both cities competing to be Asia’s pre-eminent technology hub, come out top in the report. Both have predominantly urban, affluent and gadget-hungry populations and advanced mobile networks.

In fact, mobile internet penetration in Hong Kong is predicted to grow from 60.9 per cent in 2011 to 93.1 per cent by 2016, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers.

As impressive as these stats may be, however, it’s to countries like China and India that the tablet and smartphone makers are looking for serious growth, because while the penetration rates there may be comparatively low, the actual user numbers are huge.

As the percentage of users owning such devices increases, of course, so will the clamour at the IT manager’s door for BYOD programs. ®

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