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Five Data Trends Shaping Digital Economies in Asia Pacific Listen with ReadSpeaker

Five Consumer Data Usage Trends to Boost Your Business in Asia

Digital economies are expanding rapidly in Asia’s major markets. China’s online economy was valued at nearly USD 7.3 trillion in 2022. India is predicted to surpass USD 1 trillion in 2030, and Southeast Asia should expand from USD 194 billion in 2022 to USD 330 billion in 2025.

The scale of mobile commerce growth is forging innovation in consumer technology while generating vast, tangential flows of data to capture and analyze. AI, machine learning, and algorithm applications are shaping consumer engagement, but they are also gaining scrutiny from regulators.

Making sense of this evolving era of hyper-connected consumption is tricky, and attitudes among consumers vary from market to market. Here are five factors to consider.

Asia is home to SuperApps. These everything-all-at-once mobile apps offer one-swipe access to online shopping, travel and lifestyle services, and e-payments. Machine learning enables SuperApps to customize promotions and incentives depending on the time of day, location, and consumer preferences.

 

Originating in China, SuperApps have developed across the region, including Line (Japan), Kakao (South Korea), PayTM (India), Grab and GoTo (Southeast Asia). They count multiple millions of daily users and generate vast volumes of transactional and behavioral data. This treasure trove of proprietary information is used to tailor marketing campaigns and cross-selling opportunities for partner brands.

In recent years, scores of mobile payment providers entered Asian markets creating a fragmented e-wallet landscape. Indian retailers manage up to 100 e-wallets. Most airport duty-free stores in Southeast Asia accept 20 or more e-payments.

 

By contrast, China counts three primary mobile payment brands. With travel flourishing again, retailers must assimilate multiple QR codes, and transaction data flows. In response, major players are consolidating. Alipay+ enables shoppers to make mobile payments using 15 e-wallets from China, Hong Kong, Macau, and six Asian markets by scanning a single merchant QR code.

The quality of wireless connectivity is widely debated by governments and investors. Highly networked markets like China, Japan, and South Korea are investing in tech innovations for “a post-smartphone era”.

 

Telecoms carriers are developing systems to connect humans, buildings, appliances, wearables, and objects and unleash unprecedented computing power. Visitors to the 2025 Osaka Expo in Japan will test a 6G network enabling new mobility solutions, like eVTOLs and driverless cars. BMW showcased an interactive talking car in Singapore, which is “a personalized responsive space requiring a high level of connectivity.”

Data optimization is attracting greater legal scrutiny. Companies leveraging customer data should closely monitor the fast-changing regulatory landscape across Asian markets.

 

New laws aim to close legal loopholes and protect consumers across the full spectrum of the mobile economy. In Vietnam, eCommerce firms must submit a quarterly information return with revenue data for vendors and suppliers transacting on their platforms.

 

New regulations in Australia will require buy now, pay later (BNPL) service providers to hold a credit license and make stringent checks before providing credit to shoppers. In South Korea, planned changes to the Medical Services Act would make telehealth consultations legal only for returning patients.

“Legal guardrails” is a hot topic among institutions, governments, and companies regarding managing the societal impacts of AI. Generative AI is already being integrated into countless business tools, customer service interfaces, and even government data centers across Asia.

 

Various tech trends in China have filtered into Southeast Asia over recent years and the legal treatment of AI could follow. Since 2021, China has been formulating regulations in three areas: recommendation algorithms, generative AI, and deep synthesis (deepfake) tools. This is “laying the groundwork for a capstone AI law,” says a new Carnegie report.