In this blog article I would like to give you an insight into the my part of the world: Asia. This is a brief diary of my month of July where I visited Tokyo, Ho Chi Minh City, Hong Kong, Jakarta, and Bangkok to talk to customers and prospects and to speak at various seminars about the WoodWing solutions and the iPad tools in particular.
I started my month in Japan where our partner, Visual Processing Japan (VPJ) and our customer, the Mainichi Shimbun had organized an iPad publishing seminar. About 180 paying guests arrived and were entertained with presentations from our partner, an independent Adobe InDesign consultant and guru, the head of the iPad design team of Mainichi’s PhotoJ. iPad application, and my good self. The turnout and feedback was spectacular and you could really feel the excitement of the crowd. The Mainichi explained that even with limited iPads available in Japan, the amount of paid downloads had exceeded 10,000 and was expected to grow to 100,000 per month or more in the near future. They had launched the app to appeal to the younger audience in Japan whereas the Mainichi Shimbun is generally read by the elderly population. It worked: the app was the number 1 news app in Japan at that time. During the cocktail party in the evening everybody immediately flocked to the demo corner where VPJ was demonstrating our solution. The next day I met up with an advertising agency, Bilcom, who successfully sold our solution to make a lifestyle magazine for Clinique in Japan. Overnight the Clinique iPad app became the number 1 free lifestyle app in Japan. I think this is proof that forward-looking advertising agencies can offer the iPad app as a service to brands as a clever, marketing tool. Bilcom even discussed this business model in a Japanese business magazine. I must say that I was extremely impressed with the energy and gusto of Bilcom; they sure are fast guys.
After Japan it was off to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, from where I manage the Asia Pacific region for WoodWing. Homecoming was short-lived though, as the next day I was heading for Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, where the Asian Publishing Convention was being held. We had a booth there and the crowd was great and very enthusiastic about the iPad and its future in Asia. Amazing to see so much enthusiasm coming from professionals living in areas where the iPad is not even officially launched yet. The Asian Publishing Convention was well organized and about 189 delegates, mainly from Southeast Asia, attended.
Again I flew back to be in Kuala Lumpur for one day, after which I flew to Hong Kong to discuss our solutions with various publishers, one of which went live today (23 July, coinciding with the official launch of the iPad in Hong Kong) with great fanfare: The South China Morning Post, a newspaper with a history going back for more than a century. Today they are the number 2 app (of all free and paid app) in the Hong Kong app store and will also be featured on CNBC later today. The print edition had a full front page and inside cover dedicated to the new iPad edition; now that is how you announce your iPad edition to the world!
The reviews so far have been very good and over the next couple of months there will be a lot of interesting interactive features added to the currently more traditional look and feel. The South China Morning Post is the first English daily newspaper in Asia on the iPad; a memorable feat from an ambitious publisher.
After Hong Kong it was straight to Bangkok where the Thai Adobe User Group had organized an iPad publishing event where about 190 people attended. There are rumoured to be 50,000 iPads already in circulation in Thailand. That statistic seems to be plausible, because wherever I went those couple of days, I saw people using iPads, even more so than in Kuala Lumpur and Hong Kong. Again, the buzz and excitement at the event was great, especially with graphics designers that currently design for print. They are tremendously excited about the prospect of exploring all the design opportunities that the iPad has to offer as compared to the printed product where everything seems to have been invented and done before.
From Bangkok it was off to Kuala Lumpur, again for one day, after which I flew to Jakarta to attend the media/partner/iPad usergroup launch event of the Kompas Gramedia ‘Editor’s Choice’ iPad app as a speaker and panel member; Kompas Gramedia was the first newspaper in Asia to have a daily iPad edition. And again a very enthusiastic customer and crowd that had loads of great feedback and questions regarding the future of publishing on the iPad and other digital devices. A lot of corporate representatives and advertising agencies are eager to do more with advertising in the Kompas iPad edition. XL, one of the two mobile phone operators in Indonesia that already have micro-sim cards - well before the official launch of the iPad in Indonesia! - had some interesting statistics. XL already has 5,000 iPad 3G micro-sim post-paid customers. This could mean that there are tens of thousands of iPads already in circulation in Indonesia. An amazing statistic and this should be a good harbinger of things to come for Apple when they launch (hopefully very soon) here. Another interesting statistic was that iPad users are downloading on average around 1.5 gigabytes per month, as compared to the 500 megabytes by their iPhone subscribers.
Walking around with an iPad is a great way to get people to talk to you; in restaurants, at airports, in planes, everybody seems to be excited about it and I am frequently asked to demonstrate its capabilities. My wife asks me sometimes if I sell iPads or if I sell software; I just smile and tell her that the iPad sells my software for me... In general the up-take of the iPad by Asian publishers (newspaper and magazine publishers alike) is great and I consider myself lucky to live and work in this part of the world. Asia is also the fastest growing market for Apple at the moment: http://www.e27.sg/2010/07/21/asia-becomes-fastest-growing-mac-market/
Please go and get yourself an iPad now and download the great apps our customers from all over the world have made. The full gallery of WoodWing iPad customers can be found here: http://www.woodwing.com/en/digital-magazine/ipad-gallery
Enjoy and please visit us at our next event, IFRA Publish Asia which will be held in Kuala Lumpur in August!