The Asia-Pacific region is adding the newest internet users in the world — according to a new report just published by Jim Dougherty, social media analyst and commentator at Leaders West. According to the report: “Of the new connections between now and 2017, an estimated 61% will be from Asia-Pacific. The “big three” emerging markets, namely India, China, and Indonesia, will mostly drive this growth. Between these countries, they’ll have an estimated 3 billion [internet] connections in 2017.”
The study also reported that since 2006, the number of internet users in the world has doubled, now totalling almost 2.7 billion. The new growth is characterized by frequent usage on a mobile device and being worn on the body.
Implications for the global legal industry
The Asia-Pacific legal market is currently in a state of high flux. A recent study suggests that the legal market in Asia will double by 2017. This growth is roughly in concert with the high growth in internet usage regionally. What’s more, many national legal markets in the region have been recently liberalized. Too, foreign law firms faced with moribund growth prospects in home markets including the US and Europe, have sought new growth by establishing offices or seeking high-profile mergers in Asia.
So what you have is a confluence of events as I’ve described above. This undoubtedly means that law firms will need to adapt to the way in which those in the region are increasingly choosing to communicate. Importantly, recent studies support a correlation between on-line engagement by professional services providers and success in securing new clients.
Those law firms who are either new market entrants from abroad or already established local law firms – face significant choices going forward. Those who seize the opportunity to compete effectively at every level will likely be much better off in 4 years than those who don’t. The numbers reflected in Jim Dougherty’s report should at least provide law firm leaders with a stake in the region — something to think about. Either way, we’ll all see what happens next.