Cell Phones Promote Deals

Moon Ihlwan

With rapid wireless technology advances, many assume that in the future the mobile phone will become the centerpiece of communications, entertainment and computing for people on the go. Already, cell phones are functioning in sync with, and growingly instead of, music players, digital cameras and TVs for many young consumers in Asia, particularly in Korea and Japan. Now, it is fast becoming an important tool to make payments (see BW online 02/03/06, "In Korea, Cell Phones Get a New Charge") and carry out financial transactions.
Finally, cell-phone stock trading is beginning to gain traction in Korea, where unlike in Japan (see BW online 19/01/06, "How Cell Phones Roil Japan’s Stocks") cyber trading fever has largely been limited to the PC. The ubiquitous nature of a superfast Internet connection in the country is certain to keep the ratio of online trading high. Last year about half of all stock trades, including those by institutional investors, were transacted online. Although cell-phone trading accounted for just below 1% of the overall online share trades in 2005, it still represented a sharp rise from 0.35% the previous year. With a growing number of banks and credit card companies forging partnership with wireless carriers, the handset will likely take on greater importance as a tool for shopping, banking and other transactions.

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