Mobile internet slower in Hong Kong than mainland, S Korea

January 26, 2015 18:53
People can enjoy a faster internet speed in Hong Kong than the mainland but not on mobile phones. Photo: HKEJ

Hong Kong lags behind the world average and far behind mainland China in certain areas, Digital, Social and Mobile in 2015, a new statistical report, shows.

The report, by the social media agency We Are Social, covers 240 places around the globe, profiling 30 of the world’s biggest economies in detail.

Ten of the 30 are in Asia -- mainland China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Philippine, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand and Vietnam.

Hong Kong ranks second for average internet connection speeds, the fraction of its population on social media and the fraction of the population with active mobile social accounts.

However, the city’s average mobile internet speed (6 Mbps) is only one-third of that in South Korea (18.2 Mbps) and slower than in mainland China (6.2 Mbps).

Also, Hong Kong fails to make the global top 10 for internet penetration. 

Hongkongers spend 3.4 hours a day on the internet using a laptop or other mobile device, which makes the city one of the places with the lowest average daily use, in contrast with most other places in Asia.

However, Hong Kong tops the global ranking in mobile and broadband use.

In last year's survey, the number of mobile accounts in the city was more than double its population. This year, the number has fallen 23 percent to 12.7 million, owing in part to fewer accounts being used by visitors.

Hongkongers spend about the same amount of time on the internet as mainlanders but prefer to access it via tablets and smartphones.

About 4.2 million Hongkongers access the internet with mobile devices, making the city's mobile internet penetration double the world average.

Hong Kong has 4.6 million active social media accounts, representing 64 percent of the total population. 

Its residents use instant messaging and social media apps including FaceBook and WhatsApp, which are popular worldwide.

The mainland market, however, is dominated by local apps. WeChat, from Shenzhen-based Tencent Holdings Ltd. (00700.HK), has nearly 500 million users worldwide.

About 50 cities around the world provide free Wi-Fi connections, the report said. Taipei offers tourists a 30-day free Wi-Fi service.

Hong Kong should increase the pace of the development of a free Wi-Fi network in the city.

The article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on Jan. 26.

Translation by Julie Zhu

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Partner of CSG Consultancy; Lecturer (Part-time) at The Chinese University of Hong Kong