Asia Pacific Net users go on shopping spree

Asia Pacific Internet users will spend over $US2.2 billion online this year, more than three times the $723 million they spent last year, according to a new forecast from market researcher International Data Corp (IDC).

The number of Internet users in Asia Pacific (excluding Japan) in 1999 has increased by 69 per cent to 21.8 million people from 12.9 million at the end of 1998, IDC said. By 2004, there will be 95.2 million users generating $US87.5 billion in online revenue, resulting in an annual growth rate of 56 per cent, IDC estimated in a report released yesterday.

"The continuing explosion of Web connectivity in business and increased activities in the consumer and education sector are fuelling this growth," said Pete Hitchen, Internet research manager at IDC Asia Pacific. "Internet usage in the business environment is also rapidly increasing."

Other driving forces include an increase in the number of suppliers of content and Internet technology and new foreign players entering the Asia Pacific market, according to the IDC forecast titled "The Internet Market in Asia Pacific (excluding Japan) 1997-2004".

China, India and South Korea were identified as the main Asia Pacific markets of opportunity because of exceptional Internet growth over the past nine months, although each of the 13 countries monitored saw consistent growth in Internet activities, according to IDC.

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