42% of the world’s Internet users live in Asia

Anh-Minh Do
8:00 pm on Oct 11, 2013

The three maps you see below are from the Oxford Internet Institute. They underline a point we’ve often looked at extensively. In May, it was pointed out that 50 percent of the world’s population was in a very concentrated circle in Asia. This continent is by far the biggest market in the world. Now, with Oxford’s latest maps, it’s also the world’s biggest internet market as well, by a stretch.


It’s worth noting that the map above is using data from 2011 and the data below is from 2006. Thus, the data indicates, even up to nine years ago, Asia’s internet population was very significant. As Mark Graham and Stefano De Sabbata stated about the trends in their maps:

First, the rise of Asia as the main contributor to the world’s Internet population; 42 percent of the world’s Internet users live in Asia, and China, India, and Japan alone host more Internet users than Europe and North America combined.


The darker aspects of the two above maps also indicate the percentage of the population online. Clearly, some countries in Asia have a long ways to go, like India, Bangladesh, Indonesia, and Sri Lanka. On the other side, Japan, New Zealand, Malaysia, Australia, and South Korea are clearly the most densely saturated internet populations.

This final map that came out last week from the same two researchers looks at internet search empires. The colors indicate the most dominant websites in each country. And if you haven’t guessed already, that big green blob is China, which is dominated by Baidu. It’s interesting to note that just across the pond, Japan is dominated by Yahoo, as opposed to Google, which rules the rest of Asia.


(Editing by Paul Bischoff)

  • steven goh

    be interesting to see the map re: existing population versus a map with relative growth over the last 3 years and and a map with expected growth over the next 3 years ..

  • jj

    Korean people don’t use Baidu. Baidu is purely for Chinese.

  • Sean Sutton

    jj, re: Baidu in South Korea.
    I checked the OII website and saw that researchers have picked up on the anomaly for South Korea:
    “… we see a puzzling fact that Baidu is also listed as the most visited website in South Korea (ahead of the popular South Korean search engine, Naver). We speculate that the raw data that we are using here are skewed. However, we may also be seeing the Baidu empire in the process of expanding beyond its traditional home territory.”
    The data is drawn from Alexa (www.alexa.com).

  • http://tabletsecurity.ellsed.com G. Fernandes

    The maps are skewed in favor of high population countries where internet penetration remains dismal even as mobile penetration has literally exploded. It needs to be seen in current context to really understand where the real “quality” and truly active user base is.

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