Asia Pacific will account for half of the world’s connected mobile devices by 2020 with almost 5.6 billion devices in the region, according to new research from the GSMA and Machina Research.

The Asian market for connected devices — which the GSMA defines as a device currently or likely to include a SIM card — is expected to overtake Europe and North America, which are tipped to represent 19.1 percent and 9.4 percent of total global devices respectively

According to the research, China will be the key driver of growth in Asia Pacific, as it’s predicted to reach 5 billion connected devices by 2020, by which time its mobile industry could be worth $180 billion. Based on these statistics, China’s market alone would account for more than one tenth of the global addressable revenue for operators, which the report estimates would be $1.2 trillion. Asia Pacific will be worth $447 billion, Europe $305 billion and the US $241 billion, as the chart below demonstrates.

chart 1 520x321 APAC Tipped to Account for Half of Worlds Connected Devices by 2020 Emerging market with Asia itself, where mobile devices are set to leapfrog PCs as the primary access point to the Internet, are tipped to post the highest growth rate with the report estimating that ownership of connected devices will increase by 150 percent between now and 2020.

Commenting on the findings, Michael O’Hara, Chief Marketing Officer of the GSMA, said

Asia Pacific has more than half of the world’s six billion mobile connections and is at the forefront of next-generation mobile broadband technologies and cutting-edge innovation, but there is far greater scope for growth.

The research is also predicting that users’ uptake and collection of devices will grow too. In Japan, for example, the average citizen could own as many as 11 connected devices per person — the highest of any nation — as the country is predicted to become the third biggest destination for global device-shipments, behind only the US (first) and China (second).