Saturday, December 1, 2001

South Korea is close to maxing out at 96 percent broadband penetration. Hong Kong and Singapore are surging on ahead with 58 percent and 24 percent, r

Broadband Asia!
By Teng Fang Yih

For as long as the world turns, day is day, and night is night, broadband usage will continue to rise in the Asia-Pacific region, and money will continue to be made from providing broadband access. The latest from Nielsen//NetRatings seem to indicate so. In September, the Internet user/audience measurement specialist's Internet Media Strategies service (IMS) released its findings that broadband usage for August in the region-specifically South Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, New Zealand and Australia-was at 62 percent (with the unique audience of 18,937,317 surfers), as compared with narrowband at 38 percent (with the unique audience of 11,845,440).

The latest numbers from the company show that growth in the regional broadband market continues unabated. Peter Steyn, director of Nielsen//NetRatings Hong Kong, cites the numbers: "The highest growth seen was in Taiwan where broadband grew at the rate of 33 percent-from 30 percent penetration in July to 40 percent in October. The second highest in that period was in Hong Kong, which grew at the rate of 18 percent-from 49 percent to 58 percent. Korea remains the country with the highest percentage of broadband users globally, now at 96 percent. The lowest penetration of broadband in the Asia-Pacific region is in New Zealand at 4 percent, and Australia at 6 percent. Both these countries have shown very little growth since July."

"The continued high growth of broadband in countries such as Taiwan and Hong Kong, creates a vast array of new opportunities and challenges to marketers in the region," says Steyn. "A different way of viewing the online marketplace is by looking at it as a 'secure market'. These are people who are experienced in accessing secure environments on the Internet-for example, people who bank or shop with their credit cards online. This secure market has been growing around the region. The 80:20 rule applies here-the secure market currently makes up the smaller percentage of the total Internet population. However, users in this space represent the 'high value' customers on the Web. These surfers have overcome the barriers to transacting online, and the majority represent the 'upwardly mobile' segment. In terms of broadband uptake, the 'secure market' offers the most potential to providers of high speed network access, and content providers."