A Numbers Game

RP ranks 10th as Asia’s top Internet countries
by: Jerry Liao

A recent report released by Internet World Stats (http://www.internetworldstats.com/) showed that Asia has the most number of Internet users in the world with 578.5 million users. Followed by Europe (384.6M), North America (248.2 mil), Latin America/Caribbean (139 mil), Africa (51.1 mil), Middle East (41.9 mil) and Oceania/Australia (20.2 mil).

But here’s another reason for our country to rejoice. Among the countries in Asia, the Philippines ranked number 10 as Asia’s top 10 Internet countries.

China is first with 253 million users, Japan (94 mil), India (60 mil), South Korea (34.8 mil), Indonesia (25.0 mil), Vietnam (20.2 mil), Pakistan (17.5 mil), Taiwan (15.4 mil), Malaysia (14.9 mil) and the Philippines (14.0 mil).

While the Philippines is in number 10, the penetration rate is still low. The report indicated that our penetration rate is 15.1 percent based on an estimated population of 92,681,453, with 14 million Internet users.

While the news is a big development in as far as technology penetration is concerned, I am more concerned of technological maturity – meaning how is technology being used in the country.

Last May, I wrote about a report released by Universal McCann entitled Power To The People–Wave3. The report indicated that 83 percent of Filipinos surveyed are members of a social network, making the Philippines the social networking capital of the world.

Uploading photos was regarded as the number one activity as far as sharing content was concerned, and again the Philippines topped that with 86 percent. The Philippines was again number one when it comes to watching videos with 98.6 percent.

The Philippines came in second when it came to blog readers with 90.3 percent. When in comes to downloading podcast, the Philippines was fifth with 61.8 percent. In as far as subscribing to RSS feeds, the Philippines landed sixth with 45.2 percent. For uploading videos, the Philippines came in second with 60.5 percent.

There’s still a lot of work for us to do to bring the penetration rate higher. The availability of Netbooks and Nettops will in a way help solve the PC penetration aspect. All we have to do is to make broadband connection more affordable and available to more areas.

More importantly, we have to educate our public to maximize the opportunities that the Internet has to offer, especially in the area of e-commerce.

I would rather see the Philippines at the bottom of the list, but using the Internet productively rather than being in number 10 or even on top but using it for something useless.

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