Singapore - Instant messaging (IM) is experiencing strong growth in the Asia Pacific region, according to a report released by NetValue last month. The report cited a 57 percent growth in the number of users from January to June this year.
NetValue uses a panel model for measuring Internet traffic and various protocols, including instant messaging, streaming video and file transfer protocol. A piece of software is installed onto the desktops of panelists by which the company tracks the user’s online behavior. Its sample size of home users in Hong Kong, Korea, Taiwan, and Singapore is around 16,000, according to NetValue.
The proportion of Internet users using an IM protocol is the highest in Hong Kong, at 65 percent of polled Internet users, followed by Singapore at almost 50 percent. While the tool is used predominantly by younger Web surfers, the report also noted a sizeable chunk of older users. Almost 20 percent of IM users are aged 35 or older across all the major countries in the region.
The report also cited ICQ and MSN Messenger as the two most popular IM tools, with noticeable dips of usage in Korea and Taiwan. Language barrier was projected as one of the possible causes of the disparity.
“The nature of messaging allows communities and networks of users with similar interests to develop. These networks are fertile ground for businesses to experiment and explore a myriad of new marketing possibilities,” said NetValue’s vice president of sales and marketing, Clayton Fitts.