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India fourth largest Internet user

Increasing Internet adoption in Asian countries has helped push the online population, writes CR Jayachandran.

india Updated: Dec 10, 2011 20:16 IST

The number of Internet users surpassed one billion in 2005 — up from only 45 million in 1995 and 420 million in 2000, with India accounting to 50.6 million.

While the US continues to lead with nearly 200 million Internet users at the end of 2005, China and India are now in second and fourth place among Internet users, says eTForecasts.

And the two billion Internet users milestone is expected in 2011, the US-based research and consulting firm predicts.

"Much of current and future Internet user growth is coming from populous countries such as China, India, Brazil, Russia and Indonesia," says Dr Egil Juliussen of eTForecasts.

Rapidly increasing Internet adoption in Asia's highly-populous developing nations, notably China, India and Indonesia, has helped push the worldwide online population over one billion for the first time.

"These countries will also see strong growth of wireless web usage, and for many new Internet users the cellphone will be their only Internet access device," Dr Juliussen says.

Internet user penetration is now in the 65 per cent to 75 per cent range for the leading countries and future growth is limited, the research firm indicates.

Internet user penetration for the populous and developing countries is in the 10 per cent to 20 per cent range.

"The developing countries have room to grow and wireless web usage will account for much of future Internet user growth," Dr Juliussen says.

While the number of people online continues to increase, the larger developing nations are seeing their percentage share of the worldwide Internet audience grow rapidly while the proportion of users in developed nations, like the US, falls.

According to eTForecast's data, the US share of the global online population slid from 19.86 per cent in 2004 to 18.3 per cent last year, while China's share crept up from 10.68 per cent to 11.1 per cent.

China has become the world's second most populous Internet nation, with 20 million new users going online last year, according to the research.

The total number of Chinese surfers reached almost 120 million last year.

Another survey also observes that Indians are increasingly becoming net-savvy with the Internet users base registering a 54 per cent growth, with 38.5 million people using the medium this year.

The Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) says more and more people are using the Internet. Against 25 million users in 2004, 2005 has recorded 38.5 million users till November.

Currently the total e-commerce market in India is estimated at Rs 11.8 billion. By 2006-07, online commerce is estimated to grow to Rs 23 billion.

Analysts say that Internet penetration has been facilitated by low rates for broadband connections, now available for Rs 199 per month, and introduction of affordable PCs priced at Rs 10,000, which enables the common man to overcome the first obstacle of accessing the Net.

First Published: Jan 10, 2006 14:49 IST