UNCTAD: 655 Million Internet Users Worldwide By Year's End

By Agence France-Presse The global number of Internet users is expected to reach 655 million people by the end of this year compared with 500 million at the end of 2001, according to estimates in a report just released by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development. Internet usage is seeing an annual rise of about 30%, equivalent to about 2.5% of the global population, Geneva-based UNCTAD said in its "E-Commerce and Development Report 2002." A growing share of new Internet users are in developing countries, which accounted for nearly a third of new Internet users worldwide in 2001. "Already Asia, excluding Japan and the Republic of Korea, added almost 21 million new users to the Internet in 2001, more than North America," the report notes. China has 56.6 million Internet users, making it the second-largest Internet population in the world in absolute numbers, it adds. Broken down into regions, the number of Internet users between 2000 and 2001 jumped 44.3% in Asia, 43.4% in Africa, 33.5% in Latin America, 32.7% in Europe and 10.4% in North America. The United States has just under 45% of the world share in e-commerce revenues, while western Europe has just under 25% and Japan just under 15%, the report shows. Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2002

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