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August 14, 2001
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India to see highest Internet growth in the Asia-Pacific region

India is expected to see the highest growth rate in the Internet market in the Asia-Pacific region in the next five years, according to a report by the international market research firm Gartner Dataquest.

From 2001 to 2005, India is expected to enjoy an average Internet subscriber growth of 44 per cent a year, the report said.

At that point, India will have 21.3 million subscribers, making it the fourth largest Internet market in the Asia-Pacific region behind China, Japan and South Korea.

The report predicted that the Asia-Pacific region, led by China and Japan and an emerging market in India, will overtake the US as the world's largest Internet market within the next three years.

Gartner analysts have projected that the Asia-Pacific region will have 183.3 million Internet subscribers in 2003 compared to 162.8 million in the US. Close at heels will be Western Europe with an estimated 162.2 million subscribers.

At the end of 2000, the Asia-Pacific region had 47.4 million subscribers, representing a 65 per cent increase over the 47.4 million subscribers the previous year.

The subscriber growth in Asia-Pacific is expected to touch 248 million by 2005, Gartner said.

Japan led the region in subscriber base at the end of 2000 with 24.4 million, followed by South Korea with 16.7 million, China with 14.6 million and Taiwan 4.6 million.

Together, these four countries made up 76 per cent of the region's Internet subscribers in 2000.

China will overtake South Korea as the second largest market by the end 2001 but it will take until 2003 to level with Japan.

But despite overtaking the US in Internet subscriber base, Asia-Pacific will lag behind the former in terms of revenue generated.

By 2005, the Asia-Pacific market will be worth $17.2 billion, lagging behind the $21.2 billion the US market will generate.

'' This difference between subscribers and access revenue illustrates a major reason why Internet use is still growing rapidly in Asia-Pacific. The region has some of the lowest Internet access rates in the world, and prices are still coming down as a result of competition or in some cases, governmental direction,'' said Andrew Chetham, senior analyst for Gartner.

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