Hong Kong still the world’s most connected place; Singapore not even in top 10

City ranks first for popularity of computers, mobile and wearable tech, connected cars and smart home gadgets, outranking North America and UAE; Japan and Korea well off the pace

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 11 May, 2016, 11:39am
UPDATED : Friday, 13 May, 2016, 11:27am

Hong Kong remains the most connected place in the world, according to a new report, followed by North America, but the United Arab Emirates is catching up fast.

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The latest GfK Connected Consumer Index ranks 78 countries and eight world regions, comparing the popularity of 11 different devices, from smartphones, tablets and desktop PCs to newer devices like wearables, connected cars and smart home gadgets.

Though Hong Kong retains its top position, the 2016 index’s biggest mover is the United Arab Emirates, which climbs eight places to third place. Japan fell by ten to 30th place, and South Korea fell seven to 38th place.

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In the Asia Pacific region, Hong Kong is followed most closely by Singapore and Australia, though neither gets into the global top ten.

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Speaking about developed Asia Pacific markets such as Hong Kong and Singapore, Stanley Kee, managing director for Southeast Asia at GfK, said: “The growth drivers have already moved to the next wave of consumer connectivity – wearables are now the ‘in thing’, together with connected cars.”

However, it is smartphones that will propel connectivity in emerging economies in the region for at least the next few years.

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“Pricing reductions means smartphones will become even more affordable and within reach of increasing number of consumers, who will be able to own and connect with a personal device for the first time,” added Kee.

Hong Kong’s developed IT infrastructure and fast internet speeds in urban areas may also have an impact on its digital connectivity.

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Statistics show that broadband internet networks cover nearly all commercial and residential buildings , with the household broadband penetration rate standing at 82.8 per cent (as at August 2014). The mobile phone penetration rate was 237.3 per cent, among the highest in the world.

Hong Kong also continues to have the fastest average peak internet connection speed (at 73.9 Mbps) while its telecommunications charges are among the lowest in the world, according to government figures.

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And according to official data released at last month’s International IT Fest, Hong Kong has nine submarine cable systems, 17 overland cable systems and operates nine satellites for external communications, making the city “an internet hub”.