According to a latest survey by Google and market research firm TNS, countries like Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines, Indonesia, Hong Kong, China and South Korea lead the world in using smartphones to access the internet.

While Singapore topped the smartphone use for internet at 85 percent - up from 72 percent last year - South Korea came second at 80 percent - up from 70 percent last year, revealed the Consumer Barometer Survey that sampled 150,000 interviewees across 56 countries.

Malaysia, Taiwan and Hong Kong reached 50 percent smartphone use.

"The surprising element to me is how fast things have moved in terms of penetration," Julian Persaud, managing director, Google South-east Asia, was quoted as saying by Campaign Asia-Pacific.

According to the survey, widespread smartphone ownership is changing consumer behaviour.

People are now searching for things such as car insurance, movie tickets, flights and hotels - far ahead of the US in some markets, the findings noted.