Internet use in China to triple in 1999

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MANILA--Internet users in China are expected to reach 6.7 million this year, more than triple last year's 2.1 million figure, according to a new study by Hewlett-Packard Co.

The number of Internet users in China on June 30, was 4 million, about double the amount for the same period last year, said an HP spokesman.

A total of 1.46 million computers in China had an Internet connection on June 30, compared with 747,000 six months earlier, according to the China Internet Network Information Center.

In the Philippines, projected Internet commerce sales will account for about 1.2% of estimated total transactions in the region by 2000, said Raymund del Val, HP Philippines president.

While the number of local Internet users is growing at 40% annually, there is still a quite low penetration rate of less than 1.0% or 200,000 people, said Mr. del Val.

Of the 200,000 Internet users, only 6% are engaged in electronic commerce with 1998 e-commerce sales amounting to a paltry $1.68 million.

The Philippine Internet market faces several problems, according to Mr. del Val. Import tariffs on information technology and electronic goods are still high, leading to a low penetration of personal computers. The ratio in the Philippines is one PC per 100 people.

Copyright August 1999, Crain Communications Inc.

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