Internet Population Hits 1 Billion

Ever wondered "how many internet users are there in the world"? Now we have an answer.

The total global Internet audience surpassed 1 billion visitors in December 2008, based on data from the comScore World Metrix audience measurement service.

The Asia-Pacific region accounted for the highest share of global Internet users at 41 percent, followed by Europe (28 percent share), North America (18 percent share), Latin-America (7 percent share), and the Middle East & Africa (5 percent share).

The group is made up of people aged 15 and older, using home and work computers. It excludes traffic from public computers such as Internet cafes or access from mobile phones or PDAs.

China represented the largest online audience in the world in December 2008 with 180 million Internet users, representing nearly 18 percent of the total worldwide Internet audience, followed by the US (16.2 percent share), Japan (6 percent share), Germany (3.7 percent share) and the UK (3.6 percent share).

"Surpassing one billion global users is a significant landmark in the history of the Internet," said Magid Abraham, President and CEO of comScore.

"It is a monument to the increasingly unified global community in which we live and reminds us that the world truly is becoming more flat. The second billion will be online before we know it, and the third billion will arrive even faster than that, until we have a truly global network of interconnected people and ideas that transcend borders and cultural boundaries."

Top 15 countries by Internet audience, ranked by total unique visitors, December 2008

1. China: 179,710,000

2. United States: 163,300,000

3. Japan: 59,993,000

4. Germany: 36,992,000

5. United Kingdom: 36,664,000

6. France: 34,010,000

7. India: 32,099,000

8. Russia: 28,998,000

9. Brazil: 27,688,000

10. South Korea: 27,254,000

11. Canada: 21,809,000

12. Italy: 20,780,000

13. Spain: 17,893,000

14. Mexico: 12,486,000

15. Netherlands: 11,812,000

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