Yahoo Hong Kong upgraded its mobile portal with localized features and native ad formats in January as a primer to introducing Gemini, its latest ad marketplace offering for mobile search and native ads released in the U.S., for Hong Kong advertisers.
A recent joint study by Yahoo and Mindshare revealed that 83 percent of Hong Kong residents use their smartphones throughout the day to relax, kill time, get tasks done, and look for information.
Taking a cue from the research, the Internet firm with a 15-year presence in the market revamped its mobile front page a month ago to position itself as a one-stop destination catering to local users’ needs throughout the day.
Quoting statistics from the Communications Authority office, Rico Chan, vice president and general manager for Yahoo Hong Kong, says that Hong Kong has a 236.6 percent mobile penetration rate, which underscores an exponential growth and inseparability of mobile usage in the daily lives of Hong Kong Internet users.
At a press conference last week in Yahoo’s newly renovated office in Causeway Bay, Hong Kong’s prime shopping district, Lorraine Cheung, head of audience for Yahoo Hong Kong, shared with ClickZ some of the key localized mobile search and native ad formats for the revamp.
From left: Rico Chan, vice president and general manager for Yahoo Hong Kong and colleague Lorraine Cheung, head of audience.
One of the key features is that Yahoo Hong Kong’s localized mobile search feature is able to contextualize search results for users.
For example, typing in “Causeway Bay Restaurants” in Yahoo’s search box will reveal the top 10 results on the most popular dining places from Openrice (Yelp equivalent in Hong Kong) in the district.
Cheung also points out that the mobile search engine is able to recognize when a user is searching for local bus information by simply typing in “962,” for example. When a user specifies a particular bus route, the top result will reveal mobile-friendly information from local bus company KMB on information such as the fare and the time it would take to reach the destination.
Hong Kong’s lottery, also known as Mark Six, is the most searched topic via mobile. So when a user is searching for “lottery,” the top search result will show the winning numbers from the Hong Kong Jockey Club.
The upgraded mobile site also includes utility widgets such as localized weather forecasts, dictionary enquiries, movie rankings, and instant stock price checks on its interface.
Since Yahoo’s new mobile site launch, it recorded a 60 percent increase in daily page views.
Its native mobile ad format, highlighted in yellow, is said to have tripled in click-through rate.
It appears that Yahoo Hong Kong will be aligning more with its global blogging platform, Tumblr, since it retired its popular blogging service last December. The Hong Kong office has even opened a corporate blog on the social site to update readers on the latest happenings.
Yahoo Hong Kong’s marketing team will also be focusing on rebuilding its Flickr community in the city this year.