The number of Internet users in Asia will reach 188 million by the end of 2004, a jump of almost fivefold over a five-year period, according to international technology consultancy firm, Gartner.
There would be 72 million Internet subscribers by the end of this year in Asia, including Japan, up from 41.8 million at the end of 1999. The projection, released this week, said China, Japan, India and Korea would be the main countries bringing large numbers of people online.
Of the predicted 188 million Internet subscribers in 2004, 51 million, or 27 per cent, would be in China while 10.1 million, or 5.37 per cent, would be from India. Improved infrastructure, cheaper access and increased local language content were the main driving force behind the rapid growth of Internet use.
Japan would continue to be the biggest Internet market with an estimated 64.5 million having web access in 2004.
More mature markets like Hong Kong would see a steady climb in the number of subscribers. Gartner predicted Internet users in Hong Kong would grow from 1.94 million at the end of 1999 to 3.28 by the end of 2004.