Citi has explored how Asia acts as a time machine that can transport other regions into a new world of commerce, entertainment, and healthcare. The investment bank estimates Asia adopts new technologies 8–12 years ahead of the West, making the region a time machine to the future.
The bank’s recent report looks specifically at seven areas – super apps, mobile payment, social commerce, short-form videos, eSports, webtoons, and digital health – that are currently essential elements in the Asia marketplace.
According to the report, while infrastructure has historically been underdeveloped relative to the West, Asia’s high internet connectivity, young and increasingly affluent and urban demographics, and entrepreneurial spirit have driven the region to adopt many technologies at a faster pace. In doing so, Asia provides a glimpse of what the future could look like in more developed, Western economies.
|Asia is also the first region to introduce several social commerce formats such as livestreaming e-commerce, helping it to become the undisputed 'time machine' for social commerce globally. |
“We hope the report provides fresh insights on current differences in technological adoption between Asia and the West, as well as a potential path for how these same technologies will shape markets in the West in the future,” said Ramachandran A.S., Vietnam Citi country officer.
“Vietnam is also ahead of the curve in some emerging areas. Early adoption of mobile technologies has enabled Vietnam and Asia to explore and develop new forms of digital commerce before other regions,” added Ramachandran.
Asia is the region with the highest mobile payment penetration. In 2021, digital/mobile wallets accounted for nearly 70 per cent of the e-commerce transaction value in Asia, more than double the share in North America or Europe.
The high prevalence of QR code purchasing and point-of-sale systems across Asia means consumers can instantly pay for almost everything through their mobile devices.
Super apps – mobile apps that integrate multiple functions under one umbrella – have developed in Asia at a scale unseen in other regions. The top five super apps in Asia have over 2.8 billion aggregate active users.
Asia is also the first region to introduce several social commerce formats such as livestreaming e-commerce, helping it to become the undisputed 'time machine' for social commerce globally.
For example, US social commerce is expected to grow to around $100 billion in 2025 while Asia already reached over $400 billion in 2021.
In Asia, digital healthcare is significant in terms of both scale and penetration. Studies suggest the adoption rate of digital healthcare in developing Asia is 2.5 times the rate in the US. The region’s digital healthcare revenues totalled $73.8 billion in 2022, accounting for over half of the global total.
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