Information and Communication Technology in Asia and the Pacific

Feature | 17 August 2012

Rapid advances in information and communications technology (ICT) have created tremendous opportunities for economic and social gains in the world's poorest areas. Here are 12 things to know about ICT in Asia and the Pacific region.

  1. The world is home to 7 billion people, one third of which are using the Internet. 45% of the world's Internet users are below the age of 25. Source: The World in 2011: ICT Facts and Figures, ITU
  2. A 2009 World Bank report found that for every 10 percent increase in high speed internet connections, there is a 1.3 percent increase in economic growth. The impact of information and communications technologies (ICTs) is also seen in their creative and cost-efficient use in sectors such as education, health, and agriculture, among others. Source: World Bank
  3. Internet users in the People's Republic of China represent almost 25% of the world's total. Source: The World in 2011: ICT Facts and Figures, ITU
  4. Before 2007, Papua New Guinea had fixed-line communications of around just 1% and mobile penetration of less than 5%. A recent $25 million ADB loan to fund the construction of mobile phone towers is expected to change all that. Source: ADB, Network Rollout Puts a Nation in Touch
  5. With some 6-billion mobile subscriptions in use worldwide, around three-quarter of the world's inhabitants now have access to a mobile phone. Source: Maximizing Mobile, The World Bank
  6. Growth in mobile telephony is driven by developing countries, which accounted for more than 80% of the 660 million new subscriptions added in 2011. Source: ITU World Telecommunication/ICT Indicators Database
  7. The world's top broadband economies are from Europe and Asia and the Pacific. In the Republic of Korea, mobile-broadband penetration exceeds 90%. Source: The World in 2011: ICT Facts and Figures, ITU
  8. Tonga is the first Pacific country to liberalize its telecommunications sector. Mobile teledensity, at 60%, is among the highest in the region; and local and international call tariffs are among the lowest in the Pacific. Source: ADB, Project Data Sheet: Tonga-Fiji Submarine Cable Project
  9. By end 2011, only 20% of households in developing countries had Internet access, with the exception of Lebanon and Malaysia with 62% and 61% of households with Internet, respectively. Source: ITU World Telecommunication/ICT Indicators Database
  10. In developing countries, while the number of Internet users doubled between 2007 and 2011, only a quarter of inhabitants were online by end 2011. Source: ITU World Telecommunication/ICT Indicators Database
  11. ADB assistance to Grameen Telecom has helped provide mobility and connectivity to more than 23 million subscribers in Bangladesh - and changed their lives. Source: ADB, A Mobile Revolution
  12. Between 2000 and 2011, ADB supported 374 ICT-related projects and technical assistance worth $13.22 billion. Source: ADB, Information and Communication Technology