Data from Internet measurement firm Nielsen//NetRatings‘ Global Internet Index, which measures 28 markets worldwide, reveal that the size of the Internet universe has increased by 3 percent to 426 million individuals during the June-July period.
The combined Internet universe of Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore make up almost 91 million – or one-fifth – of that total figure, still a far cry from the 165 million recorded for the U.S.
According to the Index, Internet surfers in the Asian countries spent a total of about 60 hours online in July, with South Koreans blazing ahead of the pack at 19 hours and 20 minutes in 26 Internet sessions – placing the country ahead of the U.S., whose surfers spent 10 hours and 19 minutes online in 20 Internet sessions.
Hong Kong surfers followed their Korean counterparts somewhat at a distance, recording slightly more than 12 online hours in July. Surfers in the other three Asian countries registered single-digit hours spent online, with users in Taiwan bringing up the rear with just slightly more than eight online hours.
These figures also hint at the growing ability of Internet adoption rates to leapfrog the adoption rate of fixed-line telephony in the world’s developing nations.
“The telephone took upwards of 35 years to penetrate a quarter of the U.S. population, while the Internet only took seven years,” said Hugh Bloch, managing director of ACNielsen.eRatings in North Asia.
“In some of the developing markets of the world, the telephone is still at surprisingly low levels of penetration, but the Internet is fast gaining in terms of access.”
Initial research on Internet adoption in India, for example, has revealed that just 7 percent of households have a fixed line telephone. Yet 7 percent of those connected households already have Internet access from home. According to a Nielsen//NetRatings statement, a total of 10 percent of households in India expect to obtain Internet access over the next 12 months.
By comparison, 99 percent of households in Hong Kong have a fixed-line telephone, and 51 percent of these households access the Internet via their PC at home. An additional 3 percent do not use a home PC to access the Internet, using other devices such as a PC at work or laptop, TV, mobile phone and other handheld devices instead. Over the next 12 months, 7 percent of Hong Kong households are planning to connect to the Web from home.