Framingham, Mass.--Electronic commerce stands poised for rapid growth in Western Europe, according to research released last week by International Data Corp. E-commerce spending in that region will increase at a compound annual growth rate of 138%, from $5.6 billion in 1998 to $430 billion by 2003. IDC says the Asia/Pacific region, including Japan, also represents a lucrative e-commerce opportunity. The number of Internet users in this area will nearly quadruple, from 21 million in 1998 to more than 81 million by 2003. During the same time, e-commerce spending is expected to surge from $2.7 billion to $72 billion. Also last week, the Yankee Group released research that contained an even more optimistic forecast of Internet user growth in the Asia/Pacific region: 374 million Internet users by the end of 2005, up from 39 million at the end of 1998.