Singapore, Australia lead internet use in Asia Pacific

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SINGAPORE--ACNielsen research suggests that the island state of Singapore leads Asian economies in adopting the Internet as the new medium of communication.

The ACNielsen NetWatch survey, conducted in 16 countries with nearly 150,000 respondents, found that one in every four Singaporeans is a regular user of the Internet. Hong Kong, Singapore's main rival for regional communications hub status, achieved only half that Internet penetration rate.

Australia is the only other Asia Pacific country to achieve a 25% Internet penetration rate. Among the newly industrialized countries, Indonesia has the lowest rate of Internet usage at 1.2%, behind Taiwan (12%), Thailand (1.5%), the Philippines (2%) and Malaysia's 6.3%. China reached 2.9% in the largest urban areas of Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou.

The survey found most people use the Internet for e-mail and access it at home, followed by use in the workplace. In all countries surveyed, males have the highest usage rate of the Internet.

Singapore's Net edge over Hong Kong appears even greater when looking at the typical user profile. While both cities have professionals and students as the main user groups, 58% of PMEBs (professionals, managers, executives, business people) and 54% of students in Singapore use the Net, compared to 44% and 34%, respectively, in Hong Kong.

Looking at international usage, says Steve Garton, ACNielsen's director of media services in Hong Kong, Singapore is also a "star performer," in the same league as leading edge countries such as Canada (38%), the U.S. (25%), Australia (25%) and New Zealand (24%), and well ahead of leading European economies such as Germany (14%)."

"Singapore is leading the region in the race to build a knowledge-based economy moving into the new millennium, with today's students being tomorrow's professionals, managers, executives and business people(PMEBs)," he says.

Copyright February 1999, Crain Communications Inc.

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