HKIRC “2012 Digital Marketplace – Creating New Online Business Frontiers” Seminar
“.hk Website Utilisation Survey” results announced
Trends in diversified website uses revealed
Concern over the lack of support for mobile and “Web Care” elements

HONG KONG, 22 August 2012 – Hong Kong Internet Registration Corporation Limited (HKIRC) held the “2012 Digital Marketplace – Creating New Online Business Frontiers” Seminar today. Mr. Daniel Lai, BBS, JP, Government Chief Information Officer, HKSAR Government, was the officiating guest at this year’s annual event. During the seminar, HKIRC announced the latest results of the “.hk Website Utilisation Survey”, revealing the growing trend towards adopting social media and the more diversified uses of .hk websites, as compared to the results of the same survey conducted two years ago. However, the development of mobile-based websites and “Web Care” elements are still in formative stages.

“The boundless business opportunities on the Internet are stimulating global enterprises to step up efforts towards the development of the e-business market, and IT spending among SMEs is forecast to reach US$1 trillion in 4 years1. However, resources should be allocated wisely in order to achieve the intended results. In addition, smartphone penetration continues to increase and it is anticipated that smartphone ownership by digital consumers aged over 15 will reach 80% by the end of this year2. We can see a bright future for the market of mobile-based websites.

“In addition, the expanding aged population3 is creating huge business opportunities in the “silver hair” market, and hence it is believed that developing “Web Care” websites will definitely be the future direction for enterprises. We suggest enterprises should master the latest trends of online uses and invest appropriate resources as early as possible to explore the incredible market opportunities that arise from catering to the digital lifestyle of the future,”said Mr. Jonathan Shea, CEO of HKIRC.

Conducted in August, the survey by HKIRC focused on 1,333 websites with .hk domain names in a random sample of 2,365 .hk domain names, to investigate how these websites are used such as frequency of information updates, availability of mobile-based websites, inclusion of social media and other interactive features, as well as the development of “Web Care” elements. Key findings of the survey include:

  1. More frequent updating – 36% of .hk websites have been updated in the last six months, a five-fold increase over the 2010 survey.
  2. Lack of mobile-based websites – Only 2% of .hk websites have a mobile version and 0.6% have business-dedicated mobile apps.
  3. High level of social media adoption – 15% of .hk websites adopt social media, of which 90% link to Facebook, which is the most popular social media platform. Other interactive features such as membership systems are also widely adopted.
  4. Online shopping with enhanced security measures – 14% of .hk websites offer an online shopping function, doubling the number in 2010. Of these, 36% offer secure payment measures, representing a slight increase of 4% compared to the survey conducted in 2010.
  5. Rarely passes “Web Care” website standard – Only 3% conform to W3C international web accessibility standards.

The rapid growth of social media applications as indicated in the survey provides important insight for enterprises. Local companies from different industries have successfully enhanced their customer relations through the promotion of goods and services via social media. For example, soliton.hk, a local online music platform, integrates the applications of Facebook and Weibo to strengthen interaction among users, cohering the online community and improving customer relations. Research and consulting firm Gartner, Inc. anticipates that worldwide social media revenue will reach US$16.9 billion in 2012, representing a 44% increase as compared to 20114. This shows that the market potential of social media should not be overlooked. The HKIRC survey also reveals that the majority of .hk websites have not yet developed a mobile version, while “Web Care” elements catering to the needs of the elderly and disabled are yet to be fully developed. On the other hand, we can see a significant improvement in website security.

HKIRC fully supports Hong Kong Internet development and innovation. Not only does HKIRC proactively promote the popularisation of .hk and .香港, but it also leverages on the advantages of the latest Internet developments to seize the business opportunities within different industries. To encourage the online mobile market, HKIRC started offering a free QR code generating service in March this year to all .hk/.香港 registrants, enabling them to explore mobile business opportunities. In respect of facilitating barrier-free web browsing, HKIRC has newly incorporated the “Web Care” element as one of the judging criteria of the “Top 10 .hk Website Competition” since last year, to encourage the development of “Web Care” features in .hk websites and commend outstanding websites catering to the needs of different segments in the community including the elderly and the disabled. Additionally, HKIRC releases the figures for .hk/.香港 spamvertising and phishing cases each year, as well as devoting considerable effort towards effectively identifying and handling applications suspected to be made for fraudulent purposes, which in turn helps maintain the high level of security of .hk/.香港 websites.

At the “2012 Digital Marketplace – Creating New Online Business Frontiers” seminar today, over 400 participants acquired first-hand market intelligence and explored proven best practices. Guest speakers from different online industries shared their opinions on topics of online business opportunities including:

  • The business value of IPv6 and its new applications
  • Online business opportunities in the “silver hair” market
  • The power of cloud computing
  • Consumer social networks and market trends
  • Leveraging on mobile opportunities for business

“We are thrilled that the new ways of thinking and new business models shared by speakers today have given participants new insights into digital strategies for their business. We hope local enterprises can leverage on the new network and mobile communications platforms to manage .hk website and online resources effectively, unleashing boundless imagination to open up new online business frontiers,” said Mr. Shea.


About HKIRC
Hong Kong Internet Registration Corporation Limited (HKIRC) is a non-profit-distributing, non-statutory company limited by guarantee designated by the Government of the HKSAR to undertake the administration of Internet domain names under the .hk and .香港 country code top level domain. HKIRC provides registration services for English domain names ending with .com.hk, .org.hk, .net.hk, .edu.hk, .gov.hk, .idv.hk, .hk and Chinese domain names ending with .公司.香港, .組織.香港, .網絡.香港, .教育.香港, .政府.香港, .個人.香港, .香港, and other domains to be introduced from time to time in Hong Kong.




Media Contacts:

HKIRC
Dorothy Chow
Tel : + 852 2319 3883
Fax : + 852 2319 2626
Email : marketing@hkirc.hk

iPR Ogilvy
Joyce Wong / Sofia Yip / Vivien Wong
Tel : + 852 3920 7671 / 3920 7673 / 3920 7675
Fax : + 852 3170 6606
Email : joyce.wong@iprogilvy.com / sofia.yip@iprogilvy.com / vivien.wong@iprogilvy.com

1 IT spending among SMEs is forecasted to reach US$870 billion in 2012 and will grow to US$1 trillion in 2016 (http://www.smbworldasia.com/en/content/worldwide-smb-it-spending-reach-us874-billion-2012)
2 Smartphone becomes the third most owned digital device by all Hong Kong digital consumers aged over 15 (http://www.nielsen.com/content/dam/corporate/us/en/reports-downloads/2011-Reports/Hong-Kong-Digital-Behavior-Insights-Report.pdf)
3 “Hong Kong Population Projections 2012-2041” revealed the proportion of the population aged 65 and over will reach 30% in 2041 (http://www.info.gov.hk/gia/general/201207/31/P201207310339.htm)
4 Global revenue from social media increased and is expected to reach US$16.9 billion in 2012 http://www.gartner.com/it/page.jsp?id=2092217)