Older S. Koreans flock to smartphones

Older S. Koreans flock to smartphones

Weon Yo-hwan/ Sohn Yoo-ri

South Korea’s ‘Silver Mobilian’ is making headway in maneuvering smart devices. ‘Silver Mobilian’ is the newly-coined term that combines ‘silver’ with ‘mobilian’ referring to those changing their way of living with mobile devices. It means financially well-off older generation who utilizes mobile devices and social networking service (SNS) in active manners. Smart devices including smartphones and tablet PCs are no longer excusive tools for young generation. The rate of wireless internet usage among those in their 50s grew a startling 35.2 percent compared to a year ago, according to the Korea Internet & Security Agency (KISA)’s report released earlier this year. The growth among those in their 50 was steeper than among those in their 20s (5.3 percent) or 30s (19.6 percent). Those in their 50s also posted the highest growth in terms of 4G LTE smartphone usage, the report showed. The portion of LTE smartphone users among those in their 50s (20.8 percent) outpaced those in their 20s (18.7 percent).

An official at Uplus, Korea’s mobile phone operator said, “those in their 50s or 60s are shifting from feature phones to LTE phones without experiencing 3G phones unlike those in their 20s or 30s,” adding, “the financially well-off older generation, after their retirement, has been immersed into smartphones by capitalizing on SNS including Kakao Talk,.”

There is a prejudice that the Silver Mobilian, unfamiliar with the latest functions, would find it difficult to maneuver smartphones.

Going against the prejudice, they actively learn ways to use smartphones with the help of acquaintances and engage in educational programs to master smartphones. Some of them, albeit being a small number, receive education to develop smartphone applications, which even the young generation finds it challenging to master.

Lee Joon-ki, professor at Yonsei graduate school noted, “intuitive user experience and easier operations enable the older generation to use smartphones.”

About bambooinnovator
Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (www.heroinnovator.com), the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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