New Delhi: India, which accounts for the third largest online userbase globally after China and the US, has had the lowest Internet penetration growth in Asia Pacific (APAC) at 17.4 per cent so far this year, research firm eMarketer said in a report.

However, it left behind major emerging markets in APAC like China and Indonesia in terms of growth in online users as of May 2014.

Asia-Pacific will boast of over 1.33 billion Internet users this year, the largest online population of any region in the world, eMarketer said in the report.

“Within the region, Internet usage rates span a broad range, from as low as 17.4 per cent of India’s population this year, to nearly eight in 10 in South Korea,” it added.

The research firm said there is a clear split between developed Internet economies South Korea, Japan and Australia, which all have at least three-quarters of their total populations online and less developed, but growing, markets like Indonesia and India.

South Korea accounted for the highest 78.9 per cent of the Internet penetration growth in Asia Pacific followed by Japan (77.3 per cent), Australia (76 per cent), China (48.5 per cent) and Indonesia (33 per cent).

“Unsurprisingly, it’s these less mature markets that are growing their web populations more quickly, both because of their relatively smaller bases and the basic fact that saturation is far off in these countries,” eMarketer said.

India led Asia Pacific nations in user growth at 28.9 per cent followed by Indonesia (14.9 per cent), China (6 per cent), Australia (1.7 per cent), Japan (0.8 per cent) and South korea (0.7 per cent).

“Double-digit growth rates in India’s Internet population are expected throughout eMarketer’s forecast period (2012 – 2018), while Indonesia will also post increases of 10 per cent or higher through 2016,” the firm said.

By contrast, it expects online populations of South Korea and Japan to stagnate over the same period.

Industry body the Internet And Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) expects India’s Internet user base to touch 243 million by this month, projecting a year-on-year growth of 28 per cent.

As per Trai data, the country’s Internet subscriber base stood at 238.71 million as on December 31, 2013.

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Free Press Journal