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Expansion in the Global Networked Economy

The global networked economy continues to expand, as the latest comScore World Metrix study reveals that 747 million people, age 15+, used the Internet worldwide in January 2007, a 10 percent increase versus January 2006.

Among the top fifteen countries (ranked by penetration), Internet audiences in India, the Russian Federation and China increased the most in 2006, growing 33, 21 and 20 percent, respectively.

China now represents the second-largest Internet population in the world, with 86.8 million users, after the U.S., which rose only 2 percent year-over-year to 153.4 million users age 15 or older in January 2007. Relatively speaking, user growth in the U.S. has stalled.

"The importance of the worldwide Internet population continues to grow," said Bob Ivins, managing director, comScore Europe. "Internet users outside the U.S. now account for 80 percent of the world's online population, with rapidly developing countries experiencing double-digit growth rates year-over-year."

As a measure of engagement, comScore also analyzed the top ten countries ranked by average hours online per visitor for January 2007. Canada led the list, with the average user spending 39.6 hours (and 41.3 hours/ month among broadband users) online during the month.

Rounding out the top five were Israel, South Korea, the U.S. and the U.K. -- all countries with high broadband penetration. In fact, in each of the top ten countries, the time spent online by users with a broadband connection was substantially greater than the time spent by users with a narrowband connection.

"We have all believed that 'always-on' broadband connections stimulate usage -- this study empirically confirms that conclusion," Ivins commented. Moreover, as I've stated before, the slowdown of Internet penetration in the U.S. should be a key concern to government policymakers. The lower penetration of broadband in particular, relative to the leading nations, is an indicator of challenges ahead for U.S. economic growth.

comScore also reported the top worldwide Web properties for January, ranked by unique visitors. Microsoft Sites topped the list with 510.3 million worldwide visitors, followed by Google Sites with 502.5 million worldwide visitors, and Yahoo! Sites with 467.8 million worldwide visitors.

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