HONG KONG'S OBSESSION with the mobile phone appears to be indestructible. A survey conducted in 12 countries by research company Taylor Nelson Sofres showed 29 per cent of Hong Kong children aged 6 to 15 own a mobile phone - the highest percentage in Asia. Another survey of 613 households by Ming Pao Daily News reported that 67 per cent of family members under the age of 18 owned a mobile phone, with more than a quarter of them under 13 and 5.1 per cent under six years of age. Apparently, children are not content with hand-me-downs. Eighty per cent of the respondents said their children used new handsets. Only 20 per cent used second-hand phones and one 13-year-old said she had already owned more than 10 models. The young generation prefers the latest designs and especially the latest functions, which explains why new mobile phone models with a digital camera, movie playback, radio and MP3 functions, as well as internet and e-mail, are star performers in the market today. Text messaging, the highest contributor to revenues, has even given rise to a short form of written language among young adults and teenagers, and a survey by Frost & Sullivan predicted youngsters would continue to drive mobile growth as they were 'less entrenched in voice-centric behaviour'. The survey found games, sports and concierge functions enticed younger buyers and created new niche markets for operators. The most popular information and entertainment applications included ring tones and icon downloads - allowing words to be replaced by a mere iconic character in text. Compared to older generations, who mostly use their mobiles for voice calls, the young are more willing to adopt new technology and new services.