August 6, 2009

Mobile Commerce In US Playing Catch Up With Asia

Mobile commerce growth in the US remains sluggish, but the industry is off to a big start overseas.

Also known as M-Commerce, the process allows people to use their cell phone to pay for a variety of goods and services from lunch to a ride on the subway.

In Asia, mobile commerce transactions are expected to reach almost 500 million, according to Gartner research. Meanwhile, mobile commerce transactions will only reach about 34 million in North America this year.

But the industry is expected to grow in the future. Gartner forecasts 2.4 billion transactions will take place in Asia and 221 million in North America by 2012.

"We're not too many years off where the restaurant will just send the bill to your smart device," Reuters quoted eBay chief executive John Donahoe during the recent Fortune Brainstorm: TECH conference in Pasadena, California.

"In Japan, people can wave the phone to take trains, pay for groceries, board the plane and access buildings," Sandy Shen, a Gartner research director in Shanghai, told Reuters.

"The United States has a well-established fixed and broadband infrastructure. People (in the United States) don't feel as much a need for mobile services except for voice and email."

One Intel executive told Reuters that there are technological and regulatory boundaries to the expanse of mobile commerce in North America.

"The device has enough security in it, probably more security than your credit card has today," said Anand Chandrasekher, with Intel's Ultra Mobility Group.