Over the last 5 years or so I have been keeping an eye on the growth of the internet is international markets, particularly in Asia. comScore issued a press release today that sums it up quite well. First, as of December 2008 the internet reaches over 1 billion people globally. The majority (41%) of the internet users globally are in the Asia Pacific region, and China specifically had been on a trajectory to surpass the US for sometime now. Notice how the main search engine in China Baidu.com, sometimes referred to as “China’s Google”, and Tencent, a network of Chinese internet properties and services, has earned their spots as two of the top 15 properties in the world – yes globally.
Surely it will come as no surprise that Google is by far the largest site in the world, with 77% reach against the global online audience. It is important to point out that three of the top 10 properties are social media sites – Wikipedia, Facebook, and MySpace (represented via Fox Interactive numbers) are included in the top 10, and this has been the case for some time now.
We often don’t see the forest for the trees…
The trends of Amazon and eBay maintaining such dominance over the years proves that the web’s ability to fuel commerce will only continue to grow (no surprises there). Apple and Adobe’s place as a top global internet powerhouses proves that technology, and experiential services can trump media & content plays for consumers’ mindshare and time (which are both limited). The leading social media properties moving up the list reflects the power of relevant collective and participatory experiences. The fact that two of the top global properties are Chinese in a world where Chinese is not a global language indicates the size of the opportunity in this market if you have the wherewithal to expand and operate there. China has the largest population on earth and with an evolving culture and economy it was only a matter of time before the internet population surpassed all others. The BRIC markets (Brazil, Russia, India, China) are hot. To a degree the internet has made global borders irrelevant. Business culture, ideas and innovation, if not actual commerce, pass unabated from country to country. The ability to expand your business into emerging markets can be hampered by entrepreneurs in these markets spotting the trends and launching similar products and services. Have you thought that far ahead? Does it matter to your business? Is this part of your strategic planning?
I’d love to hear your stories of BRIC expansion!