Hong Kong people are the most frequent Asian users of 'instant messaging', with almost one million people, or 65 per cent of Internet users, tapping into the service, according to a study released yesterday. Instant messaging allows Net users to converse in real-time through typed messages. The most popular software for it is America Online's ICQ and Microsoft's MSN Messenger. The survey, by online consumer behaviour researchers NetValue, found there were more than 7.7 million instant messaging users in Asia in June compared to 4.9 million in January, a 57 per cent increase. Although teenagers were the main users, there has been a notable increase among older users. In Hong Kong, 27.5 per cent of users were aged 25 to 34, while 47.8 per cent were aged 15 to 24. NetValue sales and marketing vice-president Clayton Fitts said instant messaging had gained popularity in Hong Kong because its society was one demanding instant gratification. Growth of instant messaging during the first half of the year was largest in South Korea, where it increased more than 10 per cent.