Mortensen also added that while Hong Kong was not necessarily at the forefront of cutting edge consumer apps compared to Korea, Japan and Taiwan, mobile banking and education were areas where Hong Kong was leading the way in the region.
Hong Kong Internet Society chairman Charles Mok commented that these surveys reaffirm Hong Kong's leadership position in mobile user penetration and actual usage adoption in China and globally. "What we need to contemplate now as an industry is how to elevate our application industry to a higher level," said Mok, "expanding from local to regional, developing from marketing-focused apps to develop a higher-valued industry chain that will enable us to build companies that will be world-class mobile technology developers.
"That is our opportunity and our challenge," he added.
User experience key to mobile app success
Mobile apps won't help engage users if they lack strong content and support for interaction.
According to Philippe De Passorio, head of Asia Pac, Total Immersion, technologies like augmented reality (AR) are available to help enhance user experience, but businesses need contents that will draw users to those apps in the first place. The French AR technology provider has its Asia Pacific headquarters in Hong Kong.
"People are becoming more sophisticated," said Jason Chiu, CEO of Hong Kong-based firm cherrypicks. "On top of useful information and features, mobile apps must also give users a pleasant surprise."
iButterfly--a platform developed by cherrypicks and Media Palette Hong Kong and can be deployed for different brands--is an example of pleasant surprises on mobile apps, Chiu noted. Supported by AR, motion sensor and GPS technology, the app allow consumers to decide when and where they wish to collect promotional offers and product information by catching butterflies that are added to their collection.
"Downloading coupons isn't anything new and is boring for some people," said Chiu. "But the idea of letting users catch coupons and decide when they use them makes coupon-downloading more fun."
The social element
Chiu also identified social gaming as a user experience enhancer. "Social gaming doesn't necessarily have anything to do with Facebook and gaming, but it allows a user to engage in something together with friends," he added.
Hennessy Mix--a location-based, AR-supported mobile app built by cherrypicks--is an app with a social gaming feature, according to Chiu. At 50 bars in Hong Kong, people can collect virtual stamps to win prizes by pointing the Hennessy Viewer downloaded to their iPhones at a Hennessy Mix coaster or the label of a Hennessy VSOP bottle. "A bar is a place where people socialize," said Chiu. "This feature of the Hennessy Mix app allows them to compete with friends on the number of stamps collected or being the first person to win a prize--this is what I mean by social gaming."
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