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As of now, 53% of the population in Southeast Asia — more than 339 million people — are online. There are more people with access to the internet than without and the number is expected to reach 480 million by 2020.

A survey conducted to 1600 people by Limelight Networks in four Southeast Asian countries (Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, and the Philippines) found that internet users are spending 16 hours per week on the internet outside of work purposes.

With so much time spent online, users are demanding more from their web experience and it is proven to affect their shopping decisions. What else was revealed from the survey?

16 hours doing what exactly?

From 1 to 5, with 5 being the highest internet activity, social media ranked almost 4. The second most popular was browsing through video heavy content sites like Youtube and news outlets.

Gaming sites and live streaming of sports events ranked the lowest in terms of online activity.

customer web experience

Moreover, internet users in Southeast Asia are relying more on the internet for product research.

17% of them will even engage with a company’s official social media accounts to inquire about a product.

32% of social media users use their networks to check product recommendations from their friends and family.

customer web experience

What keeps them glued online?

A smartphone is the dominant device used to access the internet in this region and laptop comes in second place.

84% of internet users expect a fast load time no matter how big the screen size of their device is.

43% of online shoppers state they will actually abandon the website, and buy from a competitor if the experience on the website is too slow.

customer web experience

Despite a customer’s increasingly high standard,  77% said they would likely give the company  another try in the future given the chance.

Other important factors to consider when creating a positive web experience:

  • Fresh and updated content from a website (46%)
  • Fast performance (38%)
  • Personalised experience based on previous visits (67%) by providing relevant product recommendations

What does this mean for brands?

Word of mouth is your best friend.

91% of the customers would recommend your service/platform to a friend if they had a positive experience. Even from the stone ages, this has always been one of the most effective marketing tools.

customer web experience

Read the full report from Limelight Networks here.

Singapore based media site e27 has raised $2.2 million Series A round led by TechTemple Group, the company announced on its website. Other investors include Linear Venture, Convergence Ventures. Venturecraft and Spacemob.

Mainly known as a tech focused media outlet, co-founder and CEO Mohan Belani insists that media is only a small part of what e27 represents.

From day one, e27 has always been an ecosystem builder. We’ve always had a vision of creating products offline and online that would help us achieve that vision. 

The company has launched jobs platforms, a startup and investor database, and a B2B marketplace. e27 is also the company behind the Echelon series of startup and investor conferences. Belani clarifies,

“At this point, the natural direction for us is to weave the online and offline functions in order to create a full-fledged, interactive ecosystem product, not just an uni-directional digital media.”

Bridging the gap between China and Southeast Asia is crucial

China has impressive market opportunities, made up of companies and people who have accomplished what Southeast Asia is currently trying to do. e27 aims to collaborate with its new investors, who are based in China, and provide more know-how towards the landscape, the language, network and professional interest barriers.

Currently, there are mid-sized and growth sized startups in China that are interested in expanding into Southeast Asia. The trend is being led by tech titans such as Tencent, Baidu and Alibaba, who have successfully paved ways into the booming market. e27 wishes to drive the growth of Chinese startups into the region by providing them with the right tools.

Indonesia’s role in driving Southeast Asia’s growth

e27 plans to collaborate with Convergence Ventures, one of the investors from this round, and leverage their strong investment network in Indonesia. This ties in with the company’s goal to facilitate stronger cross-border ties between key players in the region and China.

Jerry Wang, Founder of TechTemple comments,

“China’s rapid development of the internet industry brings important lessons to Southeast Asian entrepreneurs, as well as opportunities for cross-border collaboration. Localisation is also very important, hence investing in e27 would bring a wealth of local knowledge and connections for China.”

A version of this appeared in e27 on July 27. Read the full version here.