YouTube turns its eyeballs to Asia for massive user growth

Despite YouTube’s great success in the United States, the video-streaming company is planning to target Asia for the most part in terms of expansion in the near future, according to Chief Business Officer Robert Kyncl.

Kyncl spoke at Google’s APAC headquarters in Singapore, stating that the momentum in user and revenue growth throughout Asia sparked a key opportunity for the company, and with figures to back them up. In 2016, there has been a triple digit growth across the region in all metrics, including watch time and video uploads.

“Not only does Asia have the largest amount of people, in a few decades, countries here will have the largest GDPs,” Kyncl said.



And it makes sense. Asia is fast becoming the new tech incubator, with e-commerce companies leading the way to a giant economic leap. There is massive potential in the developing countries for new tech startups, and investors have been taking notice. The greater the exposure to new technology, the easier it is for YouTube to convince users to convert to a purely digital platform for viewing, which, in turn, will entice more potential partners.

India in itself already boasts of 500 YouTube channels with more than 100,000 subscribers. Vietnam, Thailand, and Japan also rank among the top ten markets with the highest number of viewers.


YouTube viewers in Japan rank in the Top 10


YouTube has since responded to this tremendous demand by launching region-specific features. They started with India for the introduction of their offline function in 2014, which has since then expanded to 80 other markets globally, and has recently unveiled YouTube Go in the country. Not too long ago, they also introduced the Video Checkup Tool in Malaysia, which allows users to check their mobile data quality.

These new functions are made to convince users that are harder to reach – those with limited connectivity and data – as part of a bigger plan of getting the “next billion” users online.

“We’re constantly trying to remove friction from the system, whether it’s advertisers, users, or telcos,” Kyncl said.

The company is also trying to establish local content for YouTube Red, such as a reality series focused on the popular Korean boy band Big Bang entitled “Run, Big Bang Scout.” This new focus on Asia is due to a desire to reach a global audience, since Asian shows garner a lot of viewers.

YouTube’s new direction could be the beginning of the end of TV as we know it.



Robert Kyncl, YouTube