Internet use in emerging markets seen ‘exploding’By Tina Arceo-Dumlao
SINGAPORE—At least 500 million new users of the Internet are expected to come from emerging markets such as the Philippines from 2012 to 2015, according to Internet giant Google.
Google data presented during the briefing here on “Bringing the Next Billion People Online” showed that Internet use “is exploding” in emerging markets with more new users coming online in Asia every day than anywhere else in the world.
According to Google, 2.2 billion people had access to the Internet as of the end of 2011. Of the 4.6 billion who did not, half live in five countries: India, Indonesia, China, Pakistan and Bangladesh.
Growth is expected to come from these countries and other emerging markets with a combined population of 3.3 billion, of whom just 474 million are Internet users.
“This is the year to pay attention to the Internet in emerging markets, whether you live in one or not—new users there are coming online 7 to 10 times faster than in the United States. Between now and 2015, we expect 500 million new users from emerging markets to come online, compared to only 15 million new users from the United States,” Google documents said.
Julian Persaud, managing director of Google Southeast Asia, stressed in a briefing here that emerging markets represented “the center of an exploding amount of growth” and most of these new users would first access the worldwide web on a mobile device, not a desktop computer.
“The new generation of Internet users will be different from the generation that came before,” said Persaud, adding that the new generation was pivoting the market away from one that it was mainly in English to a worldwide web with content in different languages.
Persaud added that the mobile phone—whether feature phones or web-enabled smartphones—was one of the factors contributing to the exponential growth of Internet use, as most new users of the Internet are likely to stay connected to the web only through the mobile phone, instead of a desktop computer.
With such a large mobile base, Persaud said emerging markets were not very much behind when it comes to Internet use. They are catching up and building up their online communities through their phone.
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