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This article was published on December 10, 2010

Google’s Zeitgeist 2010 in Asia

Google’s Zeitgeist 2010 in Asia
Fraser Smith
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Fraser Smith

Fraser Smith is an IT consultant based in Shanghai, China. He has over 15 years experience in the media industry working with many major ne Fraser Smith is an IT consultant based in Shanghai, China. He has over 15 years experience in the media industry working with many major news publishers. He is also co-owner and editor of the educational resource for international families, teachers and schools. You can contact Fraser via Twitter by following @FrasSmith.

It’s that time of year again when the search companies release their analysis of the year in search. Not long ago, The Next Web covered Yahoo! Japan’s top searches and the implications for social media in Japan. Yesterday, Google released their own “Zeitgeist 2010” figures.  The Next Web have already covered the UK figures here, but, we thought it worthwhile to take a look at Google’s figures for a few countries in Asia.

So, were there any surprises?  Not many.  Any patterns, yes, a few.  Can we learn much about the region from this data.  Yes, a little.


The biggest surprise to The Next Web is the exclusion of Indonesia from the figures.  The world’s fourth most populous country which has one of the largest online populations in the region doesn’t appear in the results.  We’ve tried the selection menu, we’ve tried manually setting the URL, nothing.  Strange.  If anyone can point us to the “Zeitgeist 2010” page for Indonesia, please let us know in the comments and we’ll update the post.


Yep, there are some definite patterns.  Apple’s iPad makes the top ten in six out of the eight countries chosen, no surprise there except that it doesn’t feature in gadget hungry Japan.  The most popular Hollywood movie is Inception, appearing in Hong Kong’s and Singapore’s lists, though it should be said that both those territories have large English speaking populations. Justin Beiber features in three of the eight lists and the Soccer World Cup was clearly a favourite, especially in Hong Kong.

What can we learn?

In this most unscientific of surveys we can reach the following conclusions.

  • Social networks, online shopping and video are popular in China.
  • Japan is definitely into social networks (interesting that Facebook comes third in Google’s list but only thirty-eighth in Yahoo’s.  Now that Yahoo! has been cleared to use Google’s search in Japan, the two should be closer in next year’s results)
  • Hong Kong is more interested in sport (or the scandals behind the sport)
  • Everyone wants an iPad.
  • Ironically, in the year that Google pulled out of China, the country’s top search was for Baidu.

The tables for the eight chosen countries are below.  If the wording in some items seems strange, it is because they were machine translated.

Rank Hong Kong China Singapore Japan
1World CupBaiduXinmsnYouTube
2Guo JingjingQQiPadYahoo
4iPad4399World Cup 2010Mixi
5Chen QiaowenHao123iPhone 4gHotmail
6Riverside163Universal Studios SingaporeAmazon
7InceptionUuseeJustin BieberRakuten
9iPhone 4TudouYogMsn
10Book Fair 2010Kaixin001Resort World SentosaGmail
Rank Malaysia Thailand Phillipines South Korea
1Proton InspiraAngel Music Baby.JejemonObjective
2iPadiPadiPadMC Mong
3Benci Bilang CintaiPhone 4.Pyramid lyricsPark Goals
4World Cup 2010The Star 6.Facebook emoticonsGimjisu
5Justin BieberOtic music.Justin BieberInfant
6FBFacebook.Plants vs ZombiesJonghyun
7Utusan Online TerkiniBall table.GleeiPad SelangorYouTube.TumblrKim So
9Didi gamesPhotoscape.CrossfireArashi
10FIFARamkhamhaeng University.Google Chrome downloadTwitter