As Americans continue to assimilate mobile into their lives, mobile is also transmitting its signal to countries across the globe. According to a recent Distimo survey, mobile growth is widespread across the globe, ranging from 47% in Canada to a whopping 560% in Japan. By contrast, the United States mobile market grew 44% in the past year. Looking at the growth of foreign mobile markets gives us insight into what drives mobile markets: affordability and opportunity.
India constitutes an interesting emerging market because of the overpowering effect affordable mobile is having on data consumption in India. As of May 2012, mobile internet traffic surpassed desktop internet traffic in India, shocking considering the sheer size of the country. The main reason for mobile’s success in India is its affordability in contrast to broadband devices. From January to September 2011, Indians bought 113 million mobile subscriptions as opposed to 1.8 million broadband subscriptions. Affordability is driving people in developing countries to mobile.
In China, massive profit opportunities drive the mobile market. The largest mobile provider in the world, China Mobile, has 670 million customers, but only about 15% of those phones have 3G capabilities, and smartphone companies are pushing to seize control of China’s market. While iPhones are already available in China through some carriers, Apple is working on a deal to introduce their phones to China Mobile. In addition, Qualcomm is working on a chip to promote compatibility between foreign phones and China’s mobile market. The fact that these giants are pushing to enter China’s market indicates that mobile is about to make another quantum leap in importance on the global scale.
The opportunities these developments present for developers are virtually limitless. Consider China and India are the world’s two largest internet markets, and that China Mobile has more than 6 times the U.S. subscriptions of AT&T or Verizon. Mobile’s already skyrocketing trajectory will get a tremendous boost with the development of China, India, and other foreign markets.