Internet Users in Asia/Pacific Will Surpass Those in the United States by 2005, According to IDC

FRAMINGHAM, MA – MAY 16, 2001 – Internet users in Asia/Pacific (A/P) are increasing like never before and are expected to surpass those in the United States by 2005. This information comes from IDC’s recently published report, The Global Market Forecast for Internet Usage and Commerce: Based on Internet Commerce Market Model (ICMM) Version 7.1.


According to the report, A/P (excluding Japan) is forecast to exceed 240 million Internet users within four years. Although this represents more than a 30% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) from the 64 million users in 2000, there is much room for continued growth. Internet use as a percentage of the population in A/P will be only 9% by 2005. By comparison, the U.S. figure will be 76%.

"Rapid growth coupled with a huge pool of potential users will work to ensure Asia’s place at the forefront of the Internet revolution," said Douglas Jaffe, analyst with IDC Asia/Pacific’s Internet Market research. "Internet users and ecommerce revenues are increasing rapidly, and the wireless Internet is poised to transform Asia into a key global growth center for mcommerce."

Surprisingly, China, Korea, and India will account for more than 72% of total Internet users in A/P by 2005. Greater China, which includes China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan, will eventually comprise nearly half of all users, increasing from 39% in 2000.

"China is still an extremely poor country, but these trends herald a fundamental shift in the regional balance of power, especially considering the economic and cultural clout behind Greater China," Jaffe said. "Even so, the Internet is pushing populations together faster than governments."

IDC’s ICMM report presents a broad range of information on Web access devices, Internet users, the wireless Internet, mcommerce, and ecommerce. It represents IDC’s most comprehensive view of the Internet economy and serves as a continually updated marker of the relative position of Asia within the global Web. Key findings of the report include the following:

· The PC will remain the key Web access device. The PC will continue as the principal access device throughout the region. IDC expects solid PC sales growth in 2001, reflecting the continued strength of markets such as India and China. PCs are dominant, but smart handheld devices (SHDs) are taking off in A/P.

· Asia will be a wireless Web pioneer. A/P accounts for more than 25% of the world’s total installed base of mobile phones. Mobile subscribers will exceed 366 million in 2004, leading to a penetration rate that will far exceed that of the PC. At present, only 2.6% of mobile phones are used for wireless Internet use, but IDC expects this proportion to increase to nearly 40% by 2005. IDC expects Asia to become a vibrant center for the development of the wireless economy, with mcommerce revenues forecast to exceed US$36 billion by 2004.

· eCommerce transcends the hype. eCommerce is expected to serve as an important engine of growth for development across the region, with revenues reaching nearly US$600 billion in 2005. This represents a CAGR of more than 101% from 2000 and includes growth figures for both the B2B and B2C segments. Contrary to the naysayers, both B2B and B2C ecommerce are expected to exhibit solid growth, with the former forecast to hit US$516 billion in 2005, and the latter approximately US$83 billion.

· Regional economies will not be impacted equally. Manufacturing and export-driven economies will be better suited to implement B2B solutions, and much will depend on the relative maturity of a country’s IT infrastructure. Australia, Korea, Taiwan, and the PRC are expected to derive the highest absolute revenue from e- and mcommerce, while rich economies like Hong Kong and Singapore, although small, will play an important role in stimulating regional IT development.

To learn more about IDC’s report The Global Market Forecast for Internet Usage and Commerce: Based on Internet Commerce Market Model (ICMM) Version 7.1 (IDC #B24538) or to speak with an Asia/Pacific analyst, contact Paul Edwards at 416-369-0033 ext. 245. To purchase IDC’s ICMM report, please contact Chad Eaton at (508) 988-6972 or email

About IDC

IDC delivers dependable, high-impact insights and advice on the future of ebusiness, the Internet, and technology to help organizations make sound business decisions. IDC forecasts worldwide markets and trends and analyzes business strategies, technologies, and vendors, using a combination of rigorous primary research and in-depth competitive analysis. IDC provides global research with local content through more than 700 analysts in 43 countries worldwide. IDC's customers comprise the world's leading IT suppliers, IT organizations, ebusiness companies, and the financial community. Additional information can be found at

IDC is a division of IDG, the world's leading IT media, research and exposition company.


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