China Muscling for Rank as #2 in Net Use

A California-based IT research firm, Computer Economics Inc., projects
that by 2005, China will have the second largest population of Internet users,
with 37.3 million, next to the United States, with 126.6 million.

China’s growth will push Japan, which will have 34.7 million users, from its
current second place position to third, according to the research firm’s
analysis.

This would mean exponential growth for China, who only has around 2.1 million
users next to Japan’s reported 14 million users.

“Between 2003 and 2005, China will begin to dominate the Asia Pacific region in
terms of Internet users, thanks to increasingly available wireless
technologies,” said Michael Erbschloe, Computer Economics’ director of research
and advisory services.

Germany will grab fourth place with 17.5 million users and Canada will have
fifth place with 17.2 million users.

“Other areas that now show high numbers of users, such as Australia, Hong Kong,
South Korea, and Taiwan, will not increase at such a high rate,” added
Erbschloe.

However, as some regional analysts point out, the study by Computer Economics
does not take in account the economic and political barriers to such growth in
China including the high cost of access and Beijing’s fear of the Web’s free
flow of information.

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