The Asian (Inter)Net

Those who know me well enough, have heard me repeat ad nausem that the axis of technology industry has shifted to somewhere in the middle of South China Sea. Japan’s influence on mobility, South Korea’s leadership in broadband deployment, China’s growing influence in manufacturing and net-enabled economy, and India’s services sector are creating a whole new set of dynamics for technology industry. The early adopters are now in Asia, at least when it comes to newer technologies in the wireless and IP space. IP Television is an alien concept in US, but is becoming a household phenomenon across Asia. I think further proof of this shift is in the bandwidth patterns. I am convinced that bandwidth usage and traffic patterns on the Internet say a lot about a country or a place. The way I see it, what air travel did for the mid-20th century, fiber is doing for our 21st century future. I don’t see the value in the pipe, but I see the tremendous value in the bits that are carried on this pipe.

Telegeography’s most recent Global Internet Report, shows that we are a net-enabled planet. The international IP Traffic Grew 115 percent between 2003 and 2004, outpacing the underlying capacity growth of 46 percent. But the most surprising number is the sharp increase in the traffic between Asian countries – 434 percent between 2003 and 2004, compared to 82 percent between European countries. However, one could easily discount that because after all it is coming off a smaller base. But the number to watch is the traffic growth between US and Europe and US and Asia. Average Internet traffic across the Atlantic and Pacific grew 110 and 119 percent, respectively, between 2003 and 2004. It used to be exactly the opposite a few years ago. Unscientifically speaking, the following stat shows that US is conducting more “net” business with Asia. I think this is going to increase further. As India, Singapore and other new hubs become more and more fiber-enabled there will be a growth in the traffic and hence contact between US and Asia.