Internet Penetration

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Internet Penetration

Identify the different levels of household penetration by the World

Wide Web in each of the following continents – Asia , Africa , North

America , South America and Australia . Explore the reasons for this


The countries with the highest internet penetration are predominately

those Western economies with strong economies and high levels of

affluence. Out of the top 10 countries, European countries feature 6

times, with Sweden having the highest penetration at 73.6% of the

population have the internet. Other high ranking countries include

Hong Kong (70.7%), The United States of America (USA) (68.5%),

Australia (67.2%), Canada (63.8%), Korea (63.3%), Japan (60.9%),

Taiwan (60.5%), Singapore (60.2%) and New Zealand (56.8%). The United

Kingdom compares well at 60%. (Appendix 2 Internet world stats, 2005)

World wide, these 25 countries dominate over 64% of their total

population; the internet penetration in the rest of the world is just

7.8% of the remaining population.

However, percentages can be misleading; whilst they give a good

indication of levels of literacy, affluence and behaviour, the

percentage of penetration would not give an indication of size of

possible market; the USA has the largest market at 202,888,307; the

next largest being Japan at 78,050,000 and then the UK and German

markets at 35,807,929 and 47,127,725 respectively.

Whilst we have seen then that internet penetration is very strong in

these affluent societies, there are some interesting developments in

the emerging economies.

Those countries in Asia that have traditionally had under developed

economies, such as China and India , have very different levels of

internet penetration; despite both countries attempting to develop

their economic wealth. China , with a population of 1,306,313,812 has

94 million internet users (Appendix 1); this however translates to

only 7.2% of the population. The Chinese middle class is only 4% of

the population i.e. those who have household incomes of more than

$20,000 but that translates into a market or 50 million people

(Khanna, T) – a huge market for prospective investors in the country.

This compares very favourably with internet penetration in India –

where the population is very similar to China 's - 1,080,264,388.00

but there are only 18, 481,000 internet users, a penetration of 1.71%

of the population. This may be due to Government intervention in China

; in a recent report ‘it has been found that China has nurtured and

directed the economy ( Khanna, T 2005). In addition there is a

difference in the GDP per capita – in China , the GDP per capita is

$5,600, whereas in India it is only $3,100. However, in both countries

there is a huge gap between the wealthiest and poorest people, both in
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