Monday, February 2, 2009

The Economist Daily Chart: World Internet Users now over ONE Billion!

I only recently discovered that The Economist online includes a "Daily Chart" section in which a snapshot of an intriguing world phenomenon or a trivial yet fascinating trend is presented daily.

Three things make this moment deserve our special attention:

1. The number of Internet users surpassed one billion for the first time.
2. There are more people online in China than in the USA. This should not be surprising considering the sheer size of the Chinese population (1.3 billion vs. 300 million). However, it is mind-boggling still because of the pronounced gap between economic classes, incomes, regions, education, access to modern technologies, etc. amongst the 1.3 billion Chinese living in Mainland China.

3. The Internet penetration may have reached saturation point in the United States, whereas in China, and other countries that are playing a very impressive game of catchup, there is a lot of room for growth, and grow it will.

(Glad to see that the data used include only unique users above the age of 15 and excludes access in Internet cafes and via mobile devices. Nice - makes this more meaningful even after one takes it with a grain of salt...)

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