The rise of the Internet in Asia is changing what the world searches for. While you can find more information about our annual Zeitgeist for the world on our main site, we thought we’d provide an overview of some of the regional trends that emerged from Asia’s trending searches, as well as English-friendly summaries of some of the less-known terms that trended this year.

1: Asia searches for Asia’s technology
Back in 2010, Japan’s searches related to a lot of Japanese-only websites, such as social network mixi, which you could only use if you read Japanese and had a Japanese phone. That preference for Internet tools from one’s own country was typical across the region. But then consumers demanded something new. In 2011 and 2012, we saw smart mobile devices like the iPhone 5s and Samsung Galaxy S4 make the top 10 trending searches of nearly every Asian country. Apple’s announcement of its new phones and mobile OS saw search spikes that dwarfed the ones driven by previous announcements.  

The rise of Asian chat apps

Now in 2013, we can see the consequences of Asia moving onto a unified mobile Internet. Asian technology is being exported across Asia: made-in-Japan Line appears on most-searched lists in Taiwan and Indonesia; made-in-China WeChat appeared in Malaysia. The Japanese games Puzzle & Dragons and Chain Chronicle spiked in popularity in Hong Kong. 360 camera, a Chinese made app, spiked in the Philippines. The Korean-made Modoo Marble was a hit in Indonesia. Asia is using the Internet to import and export Asian technology like never before.

2: From disasters to data
From earthquakes to typhoons, Asia has more people affected by natural disasters than any other region. This was a particularly hard year in terms of natural disasters, but the data reveals that for more people than ever before, the first resource they reach for is the Internet. Typhoon Haiyan generated five times the search traffic in the Philippines than Bopha did just a year before. Hong Kong braced for Usagi.  Bird flu flare-ups led to spikes for H7N9 searches in Hong Kong. Singaporeans searched for air quality data as a haze from burning forests smothered the island.

Searches for typhoon in 2013

3: Serious politics
North Korea was the only Asian country to make it to the global trending list, but politics within Asia has become an Internet phenomenon as much as chat apps. The elections in Malaysia, Japan and the Philippines all demonstrate that. While Internet penetration hasn’t changed much in Japan, Shinzo Abe generated about 30% more searches in this year’s election than he did when he first became prime minister in 2006. Of course, this was the first year that Japan loosened restrictions on how politicians could use social media to campaign. Malaysia also saw its first electoral debate broadcast online for the first time—Singaporeans were also very interested in the neighbor’s election results. Meanwhile, connected Filipino voters took to the Internet to check for candidate and polling station information.  

Japan's September top trends, as shown on our Search Trends Globe

4. Pop culture: Gwiyomi and Attack on Titan
Following Gangnam Style’s global success last year, the genre of K-Pop as a whole continued its momentum across the region. Gwiyomi, the Korean song featuring cutesy hand-gestures, became a viral video meme as everyone from Thai actresses to Chinese pop stars uploaded their own versions online. The phenomenon spiked in Singapore and Malaysia. Meanwhile, Japanese anime series “Attack on Titan” was such a hit on TV across Asia that globally it trends higher than “Mad Men” or “Homeland” combined. Also from Japan, hit TV show “Hanzawa Naoki”, the tale of a charismatic banker exacting revenge on his duplicitous superiors, captivated audiences in Taiwan and Hong Kong.

"Attack on Titan" compared to searches for U.S. series around the world

For the Asian lists themselves, read on!

The year after Gangnam-style, PSY made a second entrance into Korea's most-searched terms with "Gentleman." Korea's big TV dramas also vied with a political sex scandal that could itself have been a plot for a K-Drama.

Korea was one of four Asian countries to make the anime TV series “Attack on Titan” a trending search term.
Gentleman,” PSY’s follow up to “Gangnam Style,” got over 600 million views around the world
Koreans tracked Hyun-jin Ryu’s sparkling opening season in Major League Baseball for the Los Angeles Dodgers
The  TV drama “Master’s Sun” tracked the complications that arise as a woman who can see ghosts discovers her visions depart whenever she touches the head of Korean chaebol. Koreans searched for the multiple complications that ensued.
Actor Park Shi-Woo was accused of rape. In May, all charges against him were dropped.
Yoon Chang-jung resigned as spokesperson for the Blue House after a sex scandal.
Korean film makers adapted a French graphic novel to create the sci-fi hit “Snow Piercer.”
It was big in 2012. “Gangnam Style” was also big in 2013.
Actress Clara’s first pitch at a baseball game went viral.
Crayon Pop followed PSY in showing that kooky can be as popular as sultry when it comes to K-pop.

More Japanese smartphone owners use their device while watching TV than any other country; which perhaps explains why so many TV shows trended online this year.

The strongest typhoon in a decade hit Tokyo, followed by other severe storms.
The game Puzzles and Dragons transformed GungHo into a billion-dollar company in 2013
“Amachan,” a TV show
半沢 直樹
The Japanese TV series “Hanzawa Naoki” chronicled the charismatic lead’s rise through the upper ranks of a bank.
iphone 5s
iPhone 5s
The anime blockbuster Attack on Titan brought a highly successful Manga to the small screen of TV
Japan was beaten by Puerto Rico in the third quadrennial World Baseball Classic but the tournament remains a major sporting moment in the Japanese sports fan’s calendar, much more so than in any other baseball-playing country.  
The Kantai Collection, abbreviated as KanColle, is a social game played via virtual playing cards. Ships from World War II are represented by women in naval uniform who battle each other.  
Last Cinderella
Miyazaki’s latest movie “The Wind Rises” had a strong pacifist theme

Those who say Japan’s cultural influence in Asia has waned need to reckon with the four terms in Hong Kong’s list that come from Japan.  

Puzzle & Dragons
The Japanese app hit big in Hong Kong as well
iPhone 5s
The top of three smartphone-related search terms in the list
Cantopop singer Sita Chan died in a car accident
Chain Chronicle
A SEGA game got a successful rebirth on Hong Kong’s smartphones
進擊的巨人 (Attack on Titan)
Attack on Titan
Is it any surprise that the finance-centric Hong Kong loved “Hanzawa Naoki”’s tale of a rising banker?
Les Misérables movie
The mysterious death of Canadian tourist Elisa Lam in an LA hotel’s water tank drove Hong Kongers’ curiosity
Galaxy S4
Samsung’s big launch of the year drove a lot of searches in Hong Kong…
iOS 7 did Apple’s new mobile OS.

The big TV sporting and drama events dominated the list, although a military scandal and the weather also vied for people’s attention.
Taiwan hosted some of the games of the 2013 World Baseball Classic tournament
A big-budget TV drama set in ancient China
Taiwanese online role-playing game “Fantasy Frontier” was a huge hit and is being released in English as Aura Kingdom
As in Japan, Korea and Hong Kong, “Attack on Titan” hit big in Taiwan
Taiwan’s lottery
The death of Hong Chong-chyou raised questions as to the acceptable level of abuse in the army
The Line chat app was massively popular this year.
Searches for weather were high in a year marked by strong typhoons
A Japanese presenter known for being extremely flamboyant, dispensed some sensational sex advice on Taiwan’s most popular talk show.
The yellow duck, having left Hong Kong, found a home in Taiwan

Cricket and Bollywood are the dependable mainstays of India’s Internet. But the appearance of GATE 2013 reflects the near-constant burst of search terms related to examinations and their results at all academic levels as the Indian year goes by.

Chennai Express
The top-searched Bollywood movie of the year
ipl 2013
This year, searches cricket’s Indian Premier League have almost risen to the levels of searches for the Superbowl
Aashiqui 2
Romance comedy
India’s new ID system led to a flurry of searches as people figured out how to manage the new system
gate 2014
People research times and venues for the make-or-break General Aptitude Test of Engineering next year.
Krrish 3
Sci Fi movie
Bigg Boss 7
The Indian version of Big Brother remains popular in its seventh showing
Jiah Khan
The death of the Bollywood actress stayed in the headlines as her family called for it investigated as murder
Grand Masti
The sex comedy sequel’s audience was far greater than its reviews.

The haze that blew over from Indonesia showed up twice in Singapore’s list, as did online viral dance routines in the form of the Harlem Shake and Gwiyomi.

PSI Singapore
The haze had people searching for the official measure of pollution.
Harlem shake
The viral dance craze had a burst of popularity in Singapore
The Boston bombing was searched for in Singapore
Little India riot
Singapore experienced its first large riot since the 1960s
The hacker collective declared its opposition to Singapore’s Internet laws by defacing government Web sites.
N95 mask
The haze led to a shortage of the masks capable of filtering out the haze particles
Malaysia election
Singaporeans took a keen interest in the elections north of their border
Deepavali 2013
The Indian diaspora searched for this national holiday.
Move over kawaii, a Korean video showing cute hand gestures to a song led to a slew of parodies
Tampines accident
A cement mixer ran over two young boys in the Singapore neighborhood

Beyond Typhoon Yolanda, a mix of celebrity scandal, games and smartphones defined the year.  
Paul Walker
The death of the "Fast and the Furious" star
Samsung Galaxy S4
Samsung’s new phone
A gaming site
Camera 360
The China-made app that launched in 2010 became a big hit in the Philippines in 2013
Pal Express - PH airline
A Philippine airline takes off
Neri Naig
A starlet with a scandalous tape
Miss Universe 2013
Miss Philippines came third in an event that’s always closely watched in the Philippines
EB Babe Yosh
The other big sex-tape scandal
IPhone 5s
The Philippines searched for Apple’s premium model more than the cheaper iPhone 5C.

An eclectic range of apps, fast food, TV and movies mixed with the tragedy of the Ya’an earthquake.
小 爸 爸
Little Daddy, a popular TV Show
雅安 地震
The Ya’an earthquake
泰 囧:
Although released at the end of 2012, the low-budget comedy sequel Lost in Thailand was popular enough to be the top movie searched in 2013.
As the economy slows, a burst of new entrants, new concepts and competitve prices has made fast food a hot search.
天天 有喜
Known as “A Happy Life” in English this drama blending period drama and supernatural elements was the TV hit of the summer
A new version of Tencent’s desktop chat client qq was released
我 是 歌手
“I Am a Singer” a reality TV show along the lines of The Voice
91 助手
A popular Android app market
疯狂 猜 图
An app called “Crazy Name That Picture” had Chinese people drawing and guessing others’ others drawings, spawning a genre of apps that extended to “Crazy Name That Tune.”
Apple’s new OS was heavily searched.

The Thai list is notable in Asia for having several hit songs.
เดี่ยว 10
Season 10 of Thailand’s standup comedian Udom Taepanich
Chapter 3 of the ‘Suparburoot Jutathep Series’ aka ‘Jutathep Gentlemen’ has made the lead actor become Thailand’s top star in a short time.
An adaptation of the Mae Nak Phra Khanong legend of Thai folklore.  Pee Mak is one of Asia's highest grossing films of all time.
Hormones  is a 2013 Thai TV series. It features modern issues and experiences of Thai teenagers such as high school life, adolescent sexuality and substance abuse.
A remake of a sentimental drama series, this latest version portrays a new interpretation of a family that is wrecked by each member’s bad karma.
iPhone 5s
Thais searched for Apple’s new smartphone.
Thailand celebrated the 80th birthday of the creator of of the Japanese popular robot-cat “Doraemon,”  which is particularly popular in Thailand.
A Thai pop rocker teamed up with a Thai country folk singer to make “Puum Pae Krungthep,” or “Bangkok’s Allergy
Another chart song features the story of a guy who begs his girl not to leave him, although the video suggests he;s being sarcastic.
A pop hit that spawned a lot of covers this year.

Asia’s shift to chat apps was neatly captured by the rise of Line appearing on the same list as Blackberry’s Mobile Messenger service being made available on Android. Indonesia’s answer to Justin Bieber turned out to be a street musician who plays a mean guitar.

Paul Walker
“The Fast and the Furious” star’s death made him the top trending term in Indonesia
Padamu Negeri
The Ministry of Education and Culture's online database for educators, where students can access their grades, learning materials and tests online. Teachers also can access it to share and receive information
BBM for Android
The Blackberry messaging tool that has long been popular in Indonesia became available in Indonesia
CPNS 2013
Indonesians searched for details of the examination for civil servants
Harlem Shake
Harlem Shake
Eyang Subur
A number of celebrities publicly broke away from the guidance of Indonesia’s “spiritual adviser” Grandfather Subur
Line's chat app
X Factor Indonesia
The X Factor franchise is still going strong in Indonesia.
Tegar was a street musician boy who hit the big time after an online video of him singing landed him on TV and then a spot supporting a favorite band.
Modoo Marble
An Indonesian version of a Korean online game called Modoo Marble was a rare desktop-computer-only hit in Asia

An election and border incident defined this year’s searches. Lots of Asian nations searched for new smartphones. Malaysia searched for a government-run rebate program on new smartphones.

Lahad Datu
A border incident in Sabah led to a flurry of searches
Malaysia had a program where people under 21 could get a 200 ringgit rebate on the purchase of any smartphone costing up to 500 ringgit
Keputusan PRU13
Results in this year’s general election
The cute Korean dance was watched and parodied in Malaysia
Teduhan Kasih
TV series
Malindo Air
A new Malaysia-Indonesia airline started
China’s chat app gained a lot of traction in Malaysia
The Conjuring
The director of the sleeper horror-movie hit The Conjuring was born in Malaysia
Cinta Jannah
Another TV series