market focus asia

Carrier Billing Market Focus – Asia

30 January 2020
Carrier Billing

The global carrier billing market is set to exceed US$31 billion by 2022. According to Nick Lane, principle analyst at Mobilesquared, most of this growth is coming from Asia:

“Google is already adding about US$2.5 to US$3 billion a year to DCB traffic too and we also need to factor in Amazon, which is already using DCB in Japan and which is likely to add US$10 billion to DCB by 2022 and beyond.”

Asia – A Mobile First Region

Mobile payments are estimated to be 50 times more popular in Asia. Asia alone accounted for 78.1% of total carrier billing spend in 2018, expected to increase to 79% by 2023.

Affordable smartphones, an emerging middle class, increased network speeds and relative decreases in mobile data costs have led to more than 90% of Southeast Asia’s internet users using smartphones, as revealed Google’s e-Conomy SEA Spotlight report.

Consumer behaviour is also taken into consideration here. Developing countries like China previously made the direct leap to mobile, instead of the traditional Western customer journey of physical shopping, to PC, then mobile. Google’s Southeast Asia managing director Stephanie Davis noted that consumers in the region were turning to digital to perform many of their daily tasks, fuelling “unprecedented growth”.

Asia – Market Insight

  • At the Money 20/20 conference in Singapore, Marty U’ren, Twitter’s head of research in Asia Pacific noted that Asia is “home to half the world’s millennial population, a demographic that is increasingly using mobile payments to buy anything and everything online”
  • According to Google’s e-Conomy SEA 2019 report, Southeast Asia’s people are “the most engaged mobile internet users in the world.” For example, users in Thailand log a daily average of 5 hours 13 minutes on their smartphone, 2 hours more than the global average
  • Of the 360 million internet users in Southeast Asia (two-thirds of the region’s population), 90% access the internet via their mobile phones. Indonesia and Vietnam lead the region with 40% annual growth, while Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore and the Philippines are growing at between 20% and 30% a year
  • In Singapore, mobile payments adoption rose to 46% in 2019, up from 34% in 2018, where its growth was in part fuelled by government efforts to drive such platforms in the country

Mobile Payments in Asia

While growth of some of the world’s mature mobile markets has slowed, “developing markets have become the Promised Land of mobile”, with Asia as a region holding the most promise.

PwC’s Strategy & payments director Shirish Jain noted:

“Asia remains the powerhouse in leading the customer shift to mobile payments with [PwC’s Global Consumer Insights Survey 2019] reflecting 8 Asian nations in the top 10, and 6 are in Southeast Asia. Vietnam, with its relatively low penetration in 2018, has registered the highest growth as mobile platforms demonstrate a significant increase in convenience over traditional means of commerce.”

Mcommerce using DCB in Asia is bringing large amounts of traffic, with mobile fuelled sales events such as Single’s Day, Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Ramadan becoming popular in the region.

Identifying Opportunities in Asia

Asia is an area of interest for mobile and carrier billing opportunities. The Asia-Pacific region is now the world’s highest-spending app market, ahead of North and South America. From 2016-2019, China has seen 80% growth in app downloads, while Indonesia’s growth was 70%.

Travel Apps

  • 35 million Southeast Asians used ride hailing services every month in 2018. Local apps GO-JEK and Grab are spurring rapid growth in services such as food delivery


  • Southeast Asia is of particular interest for growth; by 2021, the region will be home to 250 million mobile gamers and bring in $2.4 billion in revenue
  • Southeast Asia and India combined are the driving force behind download growth on Google Play, according to App Annie


  • Spend in both mobile gaming and non-gaming mobile subscriptions has fuelled growth in mature markets like Japan and South Korea

Cloud Gaming and 5G

  • 500 million cloud games consumers forecasted by 2028, compared to 3 million in 2019
  • Research by Niko Partners conducted for its cloud gaming in Asia report, suggests that the amount of money generated by cloud games platforms in the Asian market alone is going to increase more than 10 times by 2023 to $3 billion

Video, live and e-sports streaming

  • Subscription Video on Demand, e-sports and live streaming services are being driven by Tencent Video’s DouYu, Amazon Prime, Netflix etc
  • TikTok is the most downloaded app of its kind in Southeast Asia, with Southeast Asia accounting for 40% of TikTok’s global users. Likee (a Chinese short-video app) is currently in the top 10 mobile apps in Indonesia, while Joox (a Chinese made music streaming app) is the top mobile app in Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia

Super Apps

  • There is a growing use of super apps like WeChat by consumers in China. These apps allow users to carry out multiple tasks such as pay bills, order food, share photos and articles and chat with friends by using just one platform
  • Super apps are also being used by the older generation, who often are unwilling or struggle to use new technologies

Considering adding carrier billing as a payment method to your goods or services? Contact SLA Digital today to unlock new markets and opportunities.

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