February 27, 2014 12:00 am JST

Rise of the smartphone economy

If smartphones were popular in Asia before, they are booming now. Chinese manufacturers have come up with low-cost methods that are making handsets affordable for the masses, triggering a wave of growth that started in China last year and is spreading southward to India and Southeast Asia.

     By 2017, the number of people in emerging Asia who will own a smartphone is forecast to double to 2 billion. The explosion of the mobile Internet population is creating a "smartphone economy" that is changing the face of retailing and advertising, and bumping PC-based online businesses from center stage. Will this new crop of smartphone upstarts knock today's global titans from their perch?