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ASEAN ANALYSIS  22 September 2010

Asia is big on the Internet

By David Swartzentruber
AseanAffairs   22 September 2010

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Earlier this week, Facebook opened its first sales office in Singapore and proclaimed that Asia is the fastest growing region for new subscribers.

At the opening of the new office, Facebook officials said that Asia was its fastest growing site in spite of China’s restrictions on access. For example, Singapore has 3 million Facebook subscribers.

The social networking site has more than 500 million registered uses throughout the world with 54 percent of them logging on daily.

Other noteworthy facts about Asia and the Internet are:

• 35.6 percent of Internet users are Asian.

• Asia dominates the top 100 cities list with 59 cities.

• Japan accounts for 30 of the cities on the list.

• South Korea has a average maximum connection speed of 33 Mbps.

• South Korea, Hong Kong and Japan are the top three countries by speed in the list.

• The U.S. and China account for about 40 percent of the total IP addresses.

• The number of Internet surfers in Asia (389,392,28 million) is 11 times the population of Australia (34,468,443 million).

This rapid development of the Internet in Asia can be expected to accelerate even more as the economies, especially of the Asean countries, accelerate.

A major push is likely to develop in Asian countries not to be a duplicator or assembler of IT hardware and software but to market products with value added in Asia.

The success of these products is likely to depend on how well the Asian countries can market their products to other countries. After all, each Asian country does have its own culture and language, as well as to western countries.

The spread of the Internet in Asia has also ruffled the feathers of government with a number of countries, notably China and Thailand, imposing censorship on the Internet, usually citing “national interests” of one sort or another.

It remains to be seen if at some point, the Internet can be seen as a friend rather than an enemy by these countries.

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