Kei Shimada's insight into the Japanese mobile market
Kei Shimada of Infinita Inc opened up last week's excellent Heroes of the Mobile Screen conference at the BFi London with a fascinating overview of Japan's mobile industry. One of the most interesting subjects to arise was standardisation, which is currently one of the biggest bugbears Android (and mobile markets as a whole) are facing. In a nutshell standardisation makes development and coding a headache, leaving developers, advertisers and brands facing a host of platforms/handsets/screen sizes to work with. It's a hindrance of progress and something Shimada believes is one reason why Japan has always been ahead of the game in terms of mass adoption and integration of new features - carrier control means no fragmentation and far fewer compatibility issues. He gave a great example of how this standardised, top down Japanese model is working rather well for one company who have sold a few phones and have a couple of apps kicking about - Apple.
Near Field Communication (NFC) is a big feature of handsets in Japan. The technology allows short-range wireless communication between devices, enabling the exchange of data at close range. 73% of handsets are enabled with this technology and 18% of people regularly using it. McDonald's alone has 4 million active NFC coupon users, customers can redeem these in store when buying a McHangover cure. Mobile search is 100% enabled, with 44% usage and GPS 55% Enabled, 23% of people using it.
Here are some other key stats Contagious picked out:
There are currently 109 million mobile subscribers, 9/10 have mobile internet
90% of content/apps revenue goes to developers (70% in Apple App store/Android Marketplace)
40% of users are on flat data rates
90% of 16-24yr olds use mobile web once a day
Mobile social gaming site GREE gets 30bn page views a month
Kei briefly spoke about Otetsudai networks, which is an interesting microjobs service that allows users to find and fit in part-time work around their day, washing. Girlswalker events were also mentioned, these are fashion shows where attendees are notified by email with details of what the girl is wearing as she walks down the catwalk, and are able to purchase on the spot through a mobile site. It's a very smart idea, especially when you think about how this could be used at gigs/branded events to monetise experience, rather than just hoping that people remember your logo being on a stage.