Earlier this summer, more than 35,000 industry leaders gathered at Mobile World Congress Shanghai 2015 to discuss the future of mobile, making it the largest-ever mobile-focused event in Asia. Whereas the majority of the conference focused on new technologies such as 5G and Internet of Things, I was joined by peers from Netflix, Line, Ola Cabs, Flipkart and Twitter to discuss future business models for the mobile Internet.
Most of this discussion steered toward China and India, but I was there to focus on Southeast Asia. This perspective (or some would say, bias) isn’t just because my company operates in Southeast Asia, but rather is because of our $16 million dollar bet that innovation and disruption in mobile will be coming out of Southeast Asia far faster than other regions, such as the U.S., China and Japan, as expected.
Why? I will argue below that Southeast Asia is at the crossroads of two major socio-technical forces that are creating a perfect storm scenario: the convergence of “no-tail” and “mobile leapfrogging.”