March 30, 2001, 9:22 AM — SINGAPORE -- The most connected Asian countries are almost as wired as the leading European and North American countries, according to a study carried out by NetValue SA. Asian countries lead in adoption of several categories of non-Web Internet use such as chat, games, and audio/video, NetValue said in the report.
Denmark has the highest proportion of households attached to the Internet (54 percent), followed by the U.S. (50.9 percent). Asian countries take the next three spots through Singapore (47.4 percent), Taiwan (40 percent) and South Korea (37.3 percent), according to the NetValue study of 12 countries.
Of the non-Nordic European countries, the U.K. (34.4 percent ) and Germany (30.4 percent) comfortably lead over France (21.3 percent) and Spain (15.8 percent).
Spain is less-connected than China's four biggest cities -- Beijing, Guangzhou, Shanghai and Shenzhen -- which have 17.9 percent of their households connected. But Internet use is growing fast in both these communities, by 35.4 percent in Spain and 20.3 percent in the Chinese cities in the last six months.
More men than women access the Internet worldwide, with the proportion of male subscribers ranging from 66.5 percent in Spain to 52.2 percent in the U.S., while surfing preferences also vary widely by gender, NetValue said.
Investors with an eye to Asia should look closely at Internet use trends beyond just Web surfing, since Asia leads in every category except e-mail, according to NetValue.
The highest use of audio/video Internet content in the world is in South Korea, with 69.2 percent of Internet users accessing this content, helped by the country's advanced broadband infrastructure. The next-highest figure in this category is found in Mexico, at 38.4 percent.
Korea also leads in use of Internet-based games with 50.9 percent of subscribers and file transfers with 38.5 percent. No other country comes close in the games category and only Hong Kong, with 36.3 percent, has a similar level of file transfer use.
The highest use of chat is in Singapore, 28.2 percent, followed by Spain with 27.2 percent.
Hong Kong has the highest use of instant messaging, which is used by 65.5 percent of Internet subscribers there. Next comes Singapore with 51.4 percent, followed by Mexico with 48.8 percent.
Denmark contains the world's most avid e-mail users, while Hong Kong subscribers lead in use of newsgroups, according to the NetValue study.
One property of the Internet appears global -- the three most popular sites in all the measured countries are portals, local and global, NetValue said.
The measurements were made on the Internet activity of several thousand subscribers in each country using online Web tracking and Internet data collection techniques, according to NetValue.