October 21, 2011
Data point: Internet growing more truly global
As access expands, the Internet is becoming a more truly global tool. In China, roughly a third of its population of 1.34 billion had Internet access in 2010, a 20 percent year-over-year increase, according to this table from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (part of a presentation on Internet trends by KPCB’s Mary Meeker at this week’s Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco). However, while China Telecom is implementing a long-term plan to expand access to broadband, a more recent estimate shows Internet penetration slowing somewhat this year.
As a testament to India’s rapid modernization, its Internet users grew by as much as 43 percent last year, reaching 88 million. (Neighboring Pakistan also recorded 43 percent growth, to 29 million.) While this represents a mere 8 percent of its population, access is expected to surge, with Google estimating an additional 200 million Internet users in India within the next two years. As we noted in a post last week, government-sponsored initiatives such as the launch of the cheap Aakash tablet will help drive that growth.
In the U.S., Internet penetration is leveling off at around 8 in 10 citizens, but access will likely expand as smartphones get cheaper. Worldwide, today’s roughly 2 billion Internet users will grow to 2.7 billion by 2015, according to a recent estimate from IDC.