Digital Signage Starting To Turn On In SE Asia

January 21, 2015 by Dave Haynes


We all hear about vast retail and hospitality projects in huge Chinese cities people in the west didn’t know existed.

But there is a lot happening in other regional centres – the product of rising economies and huge wealth that’s often in the hands of a few family-run companies.

The footprint, opulence and foot traffic of some of the shopping malls in the Philippines threw me – retail palaces in Manila that dwarf places like the Mall of America and West Edmonton Mall.

I walked around one in the newer central business district of Manila that would have looked entirely appropriate in far more well-established cities like Hong Kong/Kowloon or Singapore. It was gorgeous and filled with luxury brands, and topped with rooftop gardens and restaurants overlooking the skyline.

There are three massive casinos here, the newer two approaching the scale of Las Vegas and Macao casino resorts – and one , called Solaire – that looked like the owners spent a lot of time walking around the Wynn in Vegas.

The trip took me to Jakarta, Indonesia these last couple of days. It’s another mega-city most people in the west know very little about, and is a bit of dark zone when it comes to things like digital signage. I rarely read or hear about stuff being done here, which owes only in part to language.

But there were queue screens in passport control at the airport, small ad-driven video walls at the security area you pass through to LEAVE the airport (no, really), and lots of retail and housing development that looked like what you’d see in the suburbs of big metro areas in the west.

The traffic in Jakarta is remarkably clogged – reputed to be up there with Mumbai for the title of world’s worst – so the group I’m with had no end of time to look out the taxi-van windows and take in the scenery. At one point we scrawled past this HUGE LED wall that runs the full facade of a retail and housing development at a major crossroads leading to the airpot and suburban areas.

This is the Mal Taman Anggrek, 1,200 feet wide and 90,000 square feet of low and high rez LED – some of it really nice ambient content.

I also learned, while in the region, that projection mapping still in its infancy in most of the west – arts festivals and the off major project here and there – is a very big deal in Singapore, with countless projects going on.

I’d been told that as a signage consultant I need to be in this region because of the business opportunities. Now I get it. There is so much happening as these mega-cities develop middle classes and improve infrastructure. There are these huge projects like the mall LED wall, but in talking to locals in the AV and systems business, the digital signage business is in many ways just emerging.

One more day on the ground here and then a very long set of flights back home – going from 30 C and a forest of green to winter and snow. Ugh.

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