updated 6/28/2004 9:58:08 PM ET 2004-06-29T01:58:08

A 23-year-old Singaporean woman appears to have set a world record for sending text messages over a mobile phone, underlining Asia’s growing obsession with mobile phone technology.

Kimberly Yeo thumbed 26 words in 43.24 seconds into her phone, beating a world record of 67 seconds for the same words set by a Briton last September, said Singapore’s dominant telephone carrier, Singapore Telecommunications Ltd, on Monday.

Mobile phones are an ubiquitous accessory in technology-savvy Singapore where more than four out of five people own a handset, giving the wealthy city-state one of the world’s highest mobile phone penetration rates.

At a contest in front of a department store on Sunday, Yeo was among 125 people timed by SingTel and a panel of independent officials to see how fast they could type the following 160-character message:

“The razor-toothed piranhas of the genera Serrasalmus and Pygocentrus are the most ferocious freshwater fish in the world. In reality they seldom attack a human.”

The message -- typed in lower and upper case -- is a Guinness World Records’ standard in the relatively new category of mobile phone text messaging.

SingTel said Yeo, a business student, narrowly beat an 18-year-old Singaporean’s time of 43.66 seconds on Sunday but shattered the current record in the Guinness World Records of 67 seconds set by a Briton in September 2003 in Sydney, Australia.

SingTel said it would submit Yeo’s time to Guinness.

“Predictive text” functions which finish the spelling the words typed into a phone and other spelling aids were barred from the contest, SingTel said.

Yeo, who won a S$17,500 ($10,250) in cash for her nimble thumbs, said she sends out about an average of 1,500 text messages a month to friends and family.

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