Friday, July 13, 2001

Bye the Numbers

MFC Internet Update - the News Review, 13 July 2001

According to Lantian Market Research, women held up more than half of China's Internet as of March, with women making up 54% of Internet users in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Xiamen, Dalian, Kunming, Chongqing, Xi'an, Wuhan, Harbin, Lanzhou, Haikou, Wenzhou and Wuzhou. Lantian's intrepid eyeball counters put overall urban Internet penetration in these cities at 16.9%, up from 5.9% a year earlier, with Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou together topping 25%. Beijing (13.1%), Guangzhou (6.1%) and Shanghai (5.3%) also lead the pack in terms of online shoppers, compared with the timid overall percentage of 2.8%. Internet penetration among corporate users jumped to 52.3% from last year's 28.6%, with much of the increase coming in the smaller cities. 52.3%?!? Tell us that this wasn't an e-mail survey.

Over at iamasia, recent numbers indicate that 17% of China's home surfers (note the "home", as distinct from "caf¨¦" and "office") paid a visit to at least one online game site in March, with most opting websites ( and offering card or strategy games. (Remember: this is William Ding's new strategy for chortal salvation!) In Hong Kong, about 24% of home users visited a game site in the same period.

Meanwhile, Nielsen/NetRatings has found that Hong Kong men "hit their peak presence online" when people elsewhere would prefer to be sleeping. Nielsen/NetRatings director Peter Steyn refused to speculate on what men were doing online at that time, but other market research firms have done enough rigorous research to suggest that they "may be indulging their vices". About 60% of Hong Kong males are logged on and cruising, sorry, surfing at 1am, with almost half still furiously at it by 2am. If nothing else you've got to compliment them on their stamina; as surveys last month showed, they are able to keep at it online longer than any other place in the world.

In part to discern how the well-off Chinese might use a secure Internet combined with a reliable delivery network, Sina commissioned a survey of ethnic Chinese, Chinese-reading Internet users... in the US and Canada. Ethnic Chinese surfers in North America are relatively well paid, highly educated, and young. Roughly 70% of them log on every day, with e-mail, surfing news and weather, product research, financial transactions and travel arrangements the most popular activities. Of the half with investments, 70% of Chinese-Americans trade stocks online, while only one half of Chinese-Canadians do so. About half of Chinese-American's shop online, compared with just over a fifth of Chinese Canadians. Books, computers and electronics lead the hit parade of purchased items, although the roughly 45% who are women prefer to buy clothes, makeup and vitamins. Women also preferred to read about issues related to health, finance, careers, fashion and relationships. Earth-shattering info... Nope, let us rephrase that: an Internet business plan!

And from the estimated prophets corner:

IBM China GM Ye Qiren said that Big Blue hoped to capture 20% of China's IDC market, which he placed at US$50 million. (This was announced shortly after pan-Asian IDC specialist iAsiaWorks confirmed that it was closing its China and Hong Kong ops, to focus resources on Taiwan and Korea "where it owns its own data centers and believes the opportunity is greatest".)