Today, the GSMA (Groupe Speciale Mobile Association) issued its latest report in regards to the mobile economy, which reveals that the Asia-Pacific region now accounts for 50% of the world’s mobile subscribers and will remain one of the world’s fastest growing mobile markets through 2020 and beyond. To put mobile growth into perspective, at the end of 2003 there were a little over one billion subscribers, i.e. 1 in 6 people had subscribed to a mobile service. By December 2013, this number had more than tripled to 3.4 billion subscribers, just under half of the world’s population. This is going to continue to grow aggressively, and by 2020, the GSMA predicts that 56% of the world’s population will subscribe to a smartphone.
Source: The GSMA Report
The number of Asia Pacific subscribers is expected to grow by 5.5 per cent a year (CAGR) until 2020, reaching approximately 2.4 billion. The majority of Asia Pacific mobile subscribers are currently located in four major markets: China, India, Japan and Indonesia, in order of size. Together, these account for three quarters of the region’s subscribers and over a third of the global subscriber base. China, the world’s largest mobile market, was home to 630 million unique mobile subscribers at the end of 2013, representing about 46% of the country’s population.
According to Anne Bouverot, Director General of the GSMA,
“Asia Pacific is at the forefront of mobile subscriber growth and service innovation, reflecting its position as home to a diverse range of markets and people. Innovation in the region is happening at many levels, from leading the way in advanced super-fast mobile services in mature markets to providing essential services such as education, healthcare and banking in the developing world. In every case, mobile operator investments are helping drive economic growth and creating jobs.”
The mobile industry contributed $864 billion to Asia Pacific’s GDP in 2013, about 4.7% of the total, and it also supported 3.7 million jobs and contributed $82 billion to public funding in the region. By 2020, mobile is forecasted to be an even more influential driver of Asia Pacific’s economy by contributing over 6.9% to the region’s GDP and directly supporting more than 6.1 million jobs.