Since I’m currently visiting Asia, here are some of my personal observations on Asian technology use. Not comprehensive or scientific, but just some things I’ve noticed on several visits over the years, across several countries.
- Mobile is king. I very rarely see desktop computers. The notion that Asia leapfrogged the desktop is very obvious.
- Everyone has a smart phone. And I mean everyone!
- Internet is fast. Fiber is abundant and more reliable than the States (from what I’ve seen at least).
- Cash is still very much in use. Good luck getting by without paper money. Also, haggling is very much the norm. There rarely a set price for something.
- Line, WeChat, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger are the king messaging apps. Many of these apps like Line and WeChat are also comprehensive commerce and social centers.
- Everybody is on Facebook. Everybody. They’re also sharing selfies and food pics on Instagram. Just like the States.
- Music is mainly accessed from YouTube. I’ve never seen Spotify or iTunes being used.
- Food delivery from street vendors is common. Mostly via scooter.
- You can buy plane tickets at the local 7-11.
Asia is a fascinating place. Given the massive population and high density of smart people, I fully expect Asia to move from follower to clear leader of global tech trends in the near future. You can already see it with WeChat and Tencent, as well as recent advances in Chinese AI and supercomputing. I think the US tech scene will continue to thrive, but it will also learn a thing or two from its bigger Asian brother.