The number of Asian Internet users is expected to rise 40% annually to reach 64 million by 2003. The expected growth rate will be twice as much as that in the U.S. market, according to the report.
"Asia's Internet scene lags behind that of the U.S. by about two to three years, but the gap is narrowing rapidly," says Goldman analyst Rajeev Gupta.
"Given that local content is developing and U.S. companies are seeking local alliances, the Internet scene in Asia is becoming both real and highly lucrative," he adds.
By 2003, China, South Korea, India, and Australia will have 70% of total Internet users, with e-commerce rising 145% a year from its 1998 level of $700 million.
The report says that investors can tap the expected growth in Internet-related revenue by investing in regional telecommunications firms such as South Korea's SK Telecom Co. Ltd. and Korea Telecom, or in firms with "imbedded internet assets," such as Singapore Press Holdings and Wharf Holdings of Hong Kong.
Copyright July 1999, Crain Communications Inc.