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A Quarter of Internet Users in Northeast Asia

Posted by: Ihlwan Moon on July 25, 2008

Global entrepreneurs have closely monitored Northeast Asia to track new online trends and services — with good reason. Nearly a quarter of all Internet users in the world reside in China, South Korea and Japan.

China already boasts the world’s largest number of broadband users (totaling 66.46 million at the end of last year). Still it has enormous growth potentials. Only 16% of its population, or 210 million people, now use the Internet and less than a third of them have broadband access, according to data released by Korea’s National Internet Development Agency.

The Internet markets in Japan and Korea are much smaller, but the two countries serve as test beds. For starters, they have active users on broadband and mobile networks. More than three quarters of the whole Korean population frequently surf the net and 99.8% of them are connected with super-fast networks. More than 40% of Korean netizens run their blog sites and about 35% of them regularly carry out banking transactions online, while nearly all (98%) of Korean kids aged between 6 and 12 are Internet users.

When it comes to mobile Internet, however, the Japanese are hard to beat. Some 83% of Japanese net users frequently use their cell phones and other mobile devices to get connected while only 47% of Korean users and 24% of Chinese users do so. The Japanese like to download music and data over the air but prefer offline financial transactions. Only 10% of Internet users have experienced online banking or share trading in Japan.

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Bloomberg Businessweek’s team of Asia reporters brings you the latest insights on business, politics, technology and culture from some of the world’s biggest and fastest-growing economies.

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