Hello from sunny Singapore! I’m blogging live from Echelon where we have an interesting panel discussing about mobile business models in Asia.
- Saumil Nanavati co-founder of Chalkboard
- Andi Boediman, IdeoSource
- Tan Swee Yeong, Angel Investor
- Sandeep Casi, Cinemacraft
- Kenny Mathers, Nokia
#1046: First question: What’s going on with mobile in Asia? Sandeep says that smartphones help to open up the Japanese mobile market which was previously very much controlled by the telcos, an interesting trend within Japan. He also feels that mobile is the key content consumption device in Asia, pointing to massive number of mobile users in India.
Swee Yeong believes the fusion between e-commerce and location will be the next big thing, probably larger in Asia than in the U.S in the future. In Indonesia, Andi says that e-payment is gaining quite a lot of traction but there is still a long way to go. If things get better, mobile commerce and other related services like social commerce could be huge in Indonesia, considering the large number of mobile users in the country.
#1057: Andi says BlackBerry is huge in Indonesia, larger than the number of iPhone users. In Indonesia, a lot of companies are providing content as a business model. Surprising, there isn’t much on mobile ads. Virtual goods are gaining steam in Indonesia with Mig33 leading the front. Kenny talks about Angry Birds, whose business model changed largely from only selling game apps to also producing plush toys and other merchandising items. “If you have a good mobile product, the business model can scale to other business forms,” said Kenny.
#1103: “Ringtones could be huge in Asia, and the same goes for the Android platform,” said Sandeep. But Swee Yeong doesn’t agree that ringtones and wallpapers are a good business model. “It’s a sunset industry,” he said. (I’m finding it pretty interesting to see panelist rebutting each other’s points.) Andi says that Angry Birds is a one-off success and that model shouldn’t be followed strictly. It’s tough for developers to create another Angry Birds. Instead stick to the basics, try serve a need.
#1114: Finally, the discussion moves over to location. Swee Yeong says that location is sexy but Sandeep says Foursquare and Gowalla aren’t even profitable. It’s important to build an app that meets a need in order to be able to bring in revenue. It remains to be seen if location can be a successful business model in Asia.
That’s a wrap folks.