Friday, December 6, 2002

Online booking in Hong Kong improving overall

Friday, December 6, 2002

The Li Ka-shing-backed travel services portal has seen the number of customers visiting its Web site decline but the SAR's online booking industry is registering expanding consumer interest, according to an ACNielsen Netratings report.

The heavily promoted "name your own price" service that allows customers to enter bids for a wide range of travel services is battling an online travel sector which continues to register strong growth. was ranked fifth most popular Internet travel site in Hong Kong with 37,000 visits. Cathay Pacific's Web site was ranked top in the same report with 73,300 unique visitors, up from 26,700 for the same month a year ago.

Hutchison-Priceline marketing manager Ronica Wang defended the firm's market position arguing that most users accessed the site while at work, data not captured in the survey.

"A majority of our users are professionals and they most likely do most of their Web browsing at work," she said.

Travel service sites as a whole chalked up 334,000 customer visits in October, a 61 per cent increase from 207,800 unique visitors for the same period a year ago.

Nielsen//Netratings measures Internet traffic by tracking a permanent panel of at-home users.

Counting the number of visitors to a site is seen as the most accepted measurement of Web traffic rather than page views or hits.

Peter Steyn, a director at Nielsen//Netratings said the firm did not capture at-work surfing. Traffic to online travel sites, including and were rising month-on-month.

Tuesday, November 26, 2002

E-tailers are primed for happier holidays

From the U.S. bellwether to the German catalog retailer to in Hong Kong, online shops around the world are hoping for a holiday season of double-digit sales growth — a small beacon of light amid stock downturns, flagging tech spending and stagnant corporate sales.

Leading the charge is Europe, where some forecasts even call for triple-digit increases over last year.

"We have seen a growth rate this year in excess of 100 percent," said Jon Prideaux, executive vice president of Virtual Visa Europe. "A given retailer might not see precisely that, but we've seen monthly sales increases of 18.5 percent, so a double or more increase over last year is very likely."

European e-tailers are gaining over the pioneering Americans because more consumers who are relatively new to the Internet are in Europe, said Japp Favier, research director at Forrester Research Inc.'s European operations. The United States has fewer newcomers, so growth is somewhat flatter this year.

The German e-tailer KarstadtQuelle, the online arm of the Karstadt department store and Quelle appliances, says 30 percent of its online sales this year — which should come in at €1.2 billion ($1.2 billion), a 70 percent increase — are coming from first-time customers.

"The average time between first plugging in the computer and buying something is 18 months, and the first purchase is usually a CD or book," Favier said.

Overall, Forrester expects that European online retail sales this holiday season will rise to €7.6 billion from about €4 billion, bringing the total for the year to €30 billion, up from €15.5 billion.

In Asia, the situation is more fragmented. Cultural nuances and logistical barriers do not always turn new Internet recruits into online shoppers.

For example, in Hong Kong and Singapore, Internet and broadband penetration levels are among the world's highest, but online sales lag significantly behind Europe's and North America's. In China, consumers want to actually touch the merchandise to make sure it works before they buy, analysts say. But e-commerce is still gaining in markets like South Korea, Japan and Taiwan. While there is little religious significance to Christmas in much of Asia, the idea of a "holiday season" may be catching on.

"The fourth quarter is increasingly becoming a shopping season in Asia-Pacific," Lane Leskela, a research director for Gartner Inc., said in a recent report. "Christmas has penetrated the local culture of many non-Christian societies as a gift-giving celebration."

Hong Kong's top shopping destinations are the Yahoo shopping and auction sites. Quinnie Ng at Yahoo Hong Kong said the sites had seen a 160 percent rise in total customers this year. But in actual numbers, she said, the base is small.

Peter Steyn, Nielsen/NetRatings director in Hong Kong, said: "People in Hong Kong and Singapore go online to browse, compare prices and functions. Then they hop across the street and buy in a shop."

In Europe, retailers have matured somewhat on the Internet over the past several years, and consumers have gotten used to them.

"People are finding it more convenient to buy online," said Brian Morris, who heads e-business for MasterCard Europe. "And with the move to the euro, it's become easier to do comparison shopping with Web sites in different countries."

Even in markets where credit cards are often spurned as a payment method — such as Germany, Italy, Japan and China — e-tailers are getting creative and consumers are responding. Amazon will send bills by mail in Germany and accept cash on delivery in Japan. Many Japanese customers buy online and have the goods sent to a 7-Eleven outlet, where they pay with cash.

"Some people actually bring cash to the office," said Fritz Demopoulos, founder and former chief executive of and now senior consultant to in Beijing.

"We have seven different ways you can make payment, like bank wire transfers, debit cards, prepaid cards."

Internet buying is still a small fraction of overall retail sales. And online sales are seldom net gains — they are sales that have moved from the store cash register to the personal computer. But purchases made online generally cost the retailer less to process than face-to-face sales. Even in struggling retail sectors, such as consumer PCs, this shift has been notable.

"Overall, sales have stagnated," said Massimiliano Bancora, Web and marketing director for CHL, one of Italy's largest computer retailers, "but sales initiated online have increased by 20 percent this year."

Regis Brinster, Geneva-based interactive marketing manager for Iomega International, a computer-storage maker, said: "We launched online sales two years ago, and they have grown to about 1 percent of our total European sales. To achieve this level of sales so quickly on a supplementary channel, without investing in a call center, makes this really outstanding."

To more effectively balance loads and keep peak drain on their systems to a minimum, European retailers have encouraged early shopping. Amazon's sites, Iomega International, British retailers like Argos, and many others offer incentives such as free shipping for orders placed before early December.

"If you're going to compete with the high street experience, you need higher levels of customer service," said Ian Loughran, managing director of, a Belfast-based video retailer.

Blackstar meets with Royal Mail representatives to plan for peak delivery periods such as holidays or during the release of hot movies.

That everything works is especially important to first-time buyers. If things do not go as planned, the next sale will be much slower in coming.

On the other hand, too much customer service can be a hindrance, and Internet stores can answer that need, too.

"I don't need sales help to buy a movie," said Lee Evans, a Berlin-based travel consultant.

"On Amazon, I type in the movie name and buy it. I don't have to fight the throngs. Then I can go downtown, stand in the Christmas markets, drink the mulled wine and look at the lights with my family.

Saturday, November 9, 2002

Internet shopping surges in popularity in Hong Kong


Saturday, November 09, 2002

HONG KONG: Internet shopping in Hong Kong has surged in popularity in the past year but most people appear to be only window-shopping, a survey published Friday found.

The most popular shopping sites, such as Yahoo and Amazon, have seen a 47% rise in visits by Hong Kong people, according to Internet market research company Nielsen/NetRatings.

A total of 823,000 Hong Kong people visited the top 100 shopping sites this year compared with 562,000 this year, researchers found.

The number of people using the Internet in the territory has risen from 1.7 million to 2.1 million over the same period.

Nielsen/NetRatings director Peter Steyn told Friday's South China Morning Post that despite the rise in visits to shopping sites, Hong Kong people were using the Internet to compare products and prices.

Hong Kong consumers are wary about spending money online, thinking the technology unsafe, and prefer to browse the Internet for price comparisons before buying in shops. - dpa

Friday, November 8, 2002

Number of shoppers using the Internet surges by 47 per cent

Friday November 8 2002

Susan Schwartz

Hong Kong people appear to be turning away from shopping centres in favour of the Internet, with the number of armchair consumers logging on to the most popular sites up by 47 per cent over the past year, according to a survey released yesterday.

The Nielsen/NetRatings figures show audience levels for the top 100 shopping sites increased from 562,000 last year to 823,000 this year. This compares with a 24 per cent increase in overall Internet use from 1.7 million to 2.1 million during the same period.

The company's Hong Kong director, Peter Steyn, said consumers were turning to the Internet to compare products and prices.

'In September 2001, 33 per cent of Internet users visited a shopping site,' Mr Steyn said. 'This September, 39 per cent visited a shopping site - a clear indicator increasing numbers of Hong Kong surfers are enjoying the convenience of online shopping.'

The most popular destinations were the Yahoo! shopping and auction sites, which saw their audiences increase 132 per cent year on year. 'The Yahoo! shopping and auction sites continue to lead the field and are now well ahead of the second-ranked Amazon,' said Mr Steyn.

'For Yahoo! high growth came from, now the most popular auction site among at-home Internet users.'

Among the top 20 shopping domains this September, those offering general merchandise remained the most popular, followed by sites offering auctions, computer products, travel and - to a lesser extent - music, cinema bookings, beauty products, books and groceries.

'The type of products people are looking for online has not changed much over the last year,' Mr Steyn said.

'Sites with a variety of products, and auctions in particular, are becoming increasingly popular.' Fifty-nine per cent of online shoppers are men and 54 per cent of customers are in the 18 to 34 age group. According to last month's figures, 18 per cent of Internet users aged above 16 had made a purchase online.

Meanwhile, the use of online government services has increased almost 20 per cent over the past year, according to a Taylor Nelson Sofres study released yesterday. The number of people who consider such sites unsafe to use decreased by three per cent from last year to 52 per cent.

The most frequent users are people seeking information (33 per cent), high-income groups (65 per cent), people with a university education (78 per cent) and those aged under 25 (63 per cent).

Saturday, October 5, 2002

Search for jobs drives surge in hits

Saturday, October 5, 2002

The number of people visiting Hong Kong government Web sites has increased by 46 per cent from 507,069 last year to 738,486 this year, a survey has found.

According to a study conducted by Nielsen//NetRatings Hong Kong, the domain of was the most popular government site with 407,592 unique visitors in August, an increase from 316,307 last year.

Peter Steyn, sales and marketing director of Nielsen//NetRatings Hong Kong, said the site contained comprehensive information about government services and news which attracted a big following in the 18-34 age group.

The site - offering information on leisure and cultural services, museums, performing arts, recreation and sports - ranked second with an audience of 180,605. The domain of

hk came third with 167,060 visitors, an increase of 28.6 per cent from 129,827 last year.

"The Hong Kong public libraries site,, is an increasingly popular site in Hong Kong and offers the convenience of online library browsing, as well as reserving and renewing of library books," Mr Steyn said.

Weather sites and attracted an unduplicated combined audience of 190,000 in August. Mr Steyn said this was because the month was stormy compared with a calm August in 2001.

"The audience of the Hong Kong Observatory site is highly dependent on deteriorating weather conditions and approaching cyclones. The August 2002 unique audience was almost five times as high as August 2001 as no less than seven tropical cyclones occurred over the western North Pacific and South China Sea this past August. In comparison, August 2001 was warmer and drier than usual and the No 1 signal was hoisted only once when Tropical Storm Fitow passed by."

Amid the high unemployment rate in Hong Kong, it was found the number of Internet surfers of job-hunting and training site had increased dramatically from August last year, from 55,031 to 140,472.

" now ranks No 1 in the overall job-search category in Hong Kong, up from No 3 a year ago. While audiences to the site grew by 154 per cent, page views on the site more than tripled, to make it the top-ranking site based on page views. Its August 2002 audience is slightly lower than its all-time high audience in May, June and July 2002," Mr Steyn said.

The jobless rate in Hong Kong has been rising since the October to December period in 2000, from 4.4 per cent to 7.6 per cent in June-August this year.

The analyst expects further growth of sites, provided the government expands its online marketing to increase awareness of the information available.

"Internet users are finding the government sites very informative, whether it is for an update on the weather, searching for a new job, planning a day or night out, renewing library books, or looking at any information on the wide range of government services," he said.

Thursday, October 3, 2002

E-government shows steady gains in Hong Kong

E-government in the HKSAR is showing signs of life with the number of people visiting domains from home growing 46 percent year on year, compared to only 24 percent growth in the total number of people using the Internet in Hong Kong over the same period, according to latest information from Nielsen//NetRatings.

"Year on year, the growth of audiences to each of the top 10 domains outstripped overall Internet user growth in Hong Kong. In August 2002, no less than 34 percent of at-home surfers visited a site," stated Peter Steyn, sales and marketing director, Nielsen//NetRatings Hong Kong in a press release.

The general Hong Kong government information at made it the top-ranking domain within the property, recording a total of 407,592 unique visitors in August. The site contains comprehensive information about the Hong Kong SAR, including government services and news, and attracts a heavy 18 to 34 year old following.

"The second and third ranked -- and -- have consistently recorded increases in audience numbers since they were launched in Hong Kong. provides information on leisure and cultural services, museums, performing arts, recreation and sports., the Hong Kong public libraries site, is an increasingly popular site in Hong Kong and offers the convenience of online library browsing, as well as reserving and renewing of library books," noted Steyn.

The fourth ranked and seventh ranked, both directing to the Hong Kong Observatory site, had a combined unique audience (unduplicated) of 190,000, which would place them at rank number two. The site carries comprehensive information about the current weather and forecasts, up-to-date tracking of cyclones, and a wealth of statistics and weather related information and news.

The fifth ranking domain,, had the second highest year on year growth among the top 10 domains, with unemployment in Hong Kong currently sitting well above seven per cent.

" now ranks number one in the overall job search category in Hong Kong, up from number three a year ago. While audiences to the site grew by 154 percent, page views on the site more than tripled, to make it the top ranking site based on page views. Its August 2002 audience is slightly lower than its all-time high audience in May, June, and July 2002," added Steyn.

Saturday, September 7, 2002

Web usage points to the medium's growth potential

by PETER STEYN, director of Nielsen//NetRatings Media Asia 06-Sep-02

While many advertisers remain reluctant to unlock the potential of the internet to reach their target audiences, I am still encouraged.

Looking at the worldwide growth and usage of the internet, its potential for reaching target audiences online, there's no question in my mind that the internet, although still in its infancy, has already had a profound impact on the daily lives of millions of people.

Just take a look at Hong Kong, which has among the highest internet penetration and usage rates in the world (compared with 30 countries which in total account for more than 95 per cent of the global internet population).

Back in September 2000, Hong Kong had only 3.35 million people with internet access at home. The latest figures released for July 2002, showed that 4.36 million people now have access - a 30 per cent increase. An even higher growth rate is evident when looking at the actual number of people who used the internet during July 2002 versus September 2000 - a 36 per cent increase.

Hong Kong also has among the world's highest broadband penetration, which, combined with the lifestyles of its residents, results in some awesome internet usage figures. Last month, the average time spent online by surfers at home was a whopping 16 hours, compared with just over 10 hours in September 2000. In comparison, the current global average for time spent online per month is slightly less than 10 hours per person. The average number of pages viewed by Hong Kong internet users last month was 1,414 per person, up 54 per cent compared with September 2000.

What is even more revealing is when we look at the online behaviour of the Hong Kong youth. The 12-17 year old internet user spent on average almost 32 hours per person last month, 26 hours among 18-20 year olds, and 22 hours among the 21-24 year old group. Even though I can't say that I have noticed fewer teens at shopping malls over the weekend, the amount of time they spend on the internet must surely be eating into their mall hangout time.

Now, thanks to technology, we can very accurately measure their actual behaviour - where they go online, where they came from, how long they spend at each site, their interaction with the site, and more - unquestionably a wealth of very powerful data not available for traditional media.

Lord Leverhulme was famously quoted complaining that he knew half his advertising was wasted - the only problem was that he didn't know which half. The ease of targeting online audiences and the speed at which accurate data is available to allow marketers to revise their online strategies, helps us to quickly understand exactly which half of our advertising budget is being wasted, long before we have wasted all 50 per cent.

As the internet becomes even more mainstream in Hong Kong, advertisers will have to wake up to this fact.

Wednesday, August 28, 2002

Instant Reply Needed? Try Instant Messaging

August 27, 2002
By Seng Li Peng

Email has remained the undisputed killer application on the Internet, serving as the faster and cheaper alternative to snail mails as well as a preferred tool to phone calls. However, emails sometimes sit unread or are not delivered because the intended recipient's mailbox is full - among other reasons.

Living in a world where we often need responses instantly, such inconveniences can be frustrating. This is where instant messaging (IM) can become a wonderful savior.

If all the important parties we want to be in constant contact are within the same IM community, instead of guessing, we can immediately check who's online and offline. IM also helps eliminates expensive phone bills, says Peter Steyn, director of Nielsen/NetRatings. In addition, "IM allows users to instantaneously transfer over files (documents and pictures) without file size limitations," says Rose Leng, regional marketing director, MSN Asia.

Lucrative Business
The concept of real-time IM was pioneered by four 20-something Israeli avid-computer users in 1996 who created a product called ICQ (I Seek You) under their company, Mirabilis Ltd.

The brilliant idea was created after the founders observed that while millions of people were connected to one huge worldwide network -- the Internet -- they were not interconnected with one another, says spokesperson Joshua Danson. Hence, ICQ became the link for willing users.

Seeing how lucrative ICQ became, AOL decided to acquire it for more than US$280 million in 1998. That very same year, Yahoo launched its own version of IM, and in 1999, Microsoft's MSN also followed suit.

Although AOL has its own IM product, "there is a very little overlap (less than seven percent) between the AOL and ICQ products," says Danson.

According to a study by Nielsen/NetRatings, AOL Instant Messenger took the top spot as the No. 1. IM application, attracting more than 22 million unique users, or 21 percent of the total surfing population at home in the US in May this year. MSN Messenger drew nearly 15.7 million Internet users, Yahoo! Messenger attracted 12.4 million and ICQ had nearly 4.4 million during the same month. Hence, while AOL is predominantly popular with American users, ICQ appeals to the international users.

So popular is its IM with worldwide users that ICQ will be launching a new product called ICQ Lite for them.

"This is for users who want the basic features of ICQ in a quick and easy-to-use package. ICQ Lite will therefore provide a simple, streamlined interface for IM with convenient access to ICQ's most popular features, such as: file transfer, SMS, multilingual messaging, and the ability to search for users via their interests using ICQ's popular keyword search functionality," says Danson.

Today, ICQ (which gains a new registration every minute or more than 100,000 new registrants daily) has more than 135 million registered users worldwide. About 22 percent of these users are in Asia including China, its biggest market, Taiwan, Japan, Malaysia, Korea, Singapore, Indonesia and the Philippines.

For MSN, taking into account just six countries in Asia, it has already garnered an impressive eight million unique users as of July, 2002.

Says Leng: "In our efforts to increase the Messenger user base, it's not only important to convince a new user to come onto Messenger, we also need to get all his friends (buddies) to use the service as well. So the success of marketing Messenger relies heavily on viral marketing."

Between December 2001 and July 2002, MSN saw its unique users in China jumped 105 percent, but Korea remains its biggest market today.

"In Korea, we have run a couple of successful MSN Messenger campaigns targeting heavy IM users such as university students and people who like using 'emoticons'. We have the most number of emoticons which users just love," Leng adds.

In case some are thinking that IM is a 'kids' tool, think again. According to Gartner, by 2004, 60 percent of real-time communication, including voice, text or call-and-response, will be driven by IM technology. It has also predicted that by 2003, 70 percent of enterprise employees will be using IM services at the office.

For corporations who are concerned that their employees may be spending too much time chatting about everything but work matters via IM, take this advice: "We've seen in the past the same concerns about the personal use of the phone, email, or Internet in the corporate environment. Like any of these tools, IM can be abused. But with proper training, the productivity enhancements of IM outweigh these concerns," says Michael Becker, Director Product Marketing, Ecrio Inc., a company that provides instant communication application and infrastructure software.

Breaking Down The Walls
"Currently, all the IM providers each have their own niche communities and are isolated walled gardens. A critical success factor for the future of any IM service will be the interoperability between services and the extension of them to the wireless networks," says Becker.

"The other thing that IM providers need to do is to extend IM usage beyond the PC experience to the wireless world, including SMS, WAP, and MMS," he adds. "Historically, IM has been a PC-to-PC experience, but it is not a far stretch to bring it to the wireless world. SMS has been wildly successful, and it is not all that different from IM. The key difference between the SMS and IM is presence and availability management."

"With SMS, we assume that a user's mobile phone is switched on and that the user is available, but this might not be the case. We have no presence control. While with IM, the user actually has control over their presence. They can consciously inform people when they are available, in a meeting, or hide themselves from one or more users. This control dramatically improves the user experience and enhances next-generation messaging services," Becker elaborates.

IM providers are not slow in realizing this.

Says Danson: "We believe that demand for new services including mobile applications will continue to grow, a reason why we have remained strongly committed to short message service (SMS) as well as ICQ handheld applications.

While MSN currently only allows its email users to receive and send mails to and from their mobile phones, it will be launching its Mobile Messenger in Asia later this year. "This new service will combine the best of both worlds and you can see your buddies' availability over the phone", says Leng.

Saturday, August 10, 2002

NetRatings to acquire research firm NetValue

Media Asia 09-Aug-02

NetRatings will acquire NetValue, an internet audience behaviour measurement service operating in Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Korea. Peter Steyn, director of sales and marketing at Nielsen//NetRatings, said: "We will fully integrate products, services of the companies, and will look at duplication and markets for better cost-efficiencies."

Wednesday, August 7, 2002

ACNielsen unit buys NetValue

Wednesday, August 7, 2002

Nielsen//NetRatings will acquire rival NetValue for 18 million euros (about HK$140 million) in cash and stock, signalling another demise in the competitive Internet audience measurement market.

Hong Kong director for Nielsen//NetRatings Peter Steyn said it was too early to tell whether any offices in the region would close, as Nielsen//NetRatings had acquired only a controlling 52 per cent stake in Paris-listed NetValue.

A bid to acquire the remainder from public investors would be launched and after this decisions would be made about office premises and staffing levels, Mr Steyn said.

Both Nielsen//NetRatings and NetValue, which compete in selling reports based on data collected from panels of Internet users, have offices in Hong Kong and have shed staff here in the past year.

In several other Asian markets there is no overlap. NetValue has offices in Singapore, Taiwan and South Korea, while Nielsen//NetRatings' are in Japan, Australia and China.

"We will continue to evaluate each market where NetValue is and where we are and then based on the economic importance and viability, we will decide which markets to keep. Honestly at this point I don't know which markets we will keep," Mr Steyn said.

However, he said the Hong Kong office would definitely remain open. "It's a very strong market for us."

Nielsen//NetRatings in May acquired the European audience measurement business of United States-based Jupiter Media Metrix.

An offer to buy the US unit from Jupiter was blocked by antitrust regulators.

Mr Steyn said the company did not see any legal opposition to the NetValue acquisition, largely because the French regulators who oversee NetValue would not stop the sale and US regulators have no jurisdiction over this merger.

The NetValue acquisition will leave Nielsen//NetRatings, a unit of consumer and television measurement firm ACNielsen, as the largest Internet audience measurement company in the world and the only major firm specialising in this area.

Rival Taylor Nelson Sofres has an office in Hong Kong, which conducts Internet research and covers other consumer areas as well.

In Asia, fierce competition and the demise of many dotcom customers have already taken their toll on rival iamasia in November, when the Hong Kong company closed shop in a number of Asian markets.

Nielsen//NetRatings also closed offices in Singapore, Taiwan and South Korea.

Jupiter Media Metrix, whose fortunes rose along with those of the dotcom companies for which it tracked traffic, decided to liquidate this summer after selling off many of its units. What remains of Jupiter Research issues reports but no longer tracks Internet traffic.

Much of the market research industry is suffering from the economic downturn, while the market for Internet research has shrunk along with the prospects of many startups and mid-sized Internet companies that once used the reports to formulate strategy.

Executives from Taylor Nelson Sofres indicated regional demand for Internet market research had fallen drastically.

While the active Internet population in many Asian countries continues to grow, there is a shrinking number of clients willing to pay for the market research.

Mr Steyn said he saw the consolidation going some way towards eliminating the kind of confusion that existed on the client side when there were many different companies offering their own, slightly different, audience figures.

"It just eliminates confusion in the market over which numbers to use," he said.
Nielsen//NetRatings has more than 750 clients buying its reports and NetValue more than 130. NetValue has operations in France, Britain, Germany, Spain and Italy, as well as Asia.

Friday, July 12, 2002 becomes most preferred job search site in HK

HONG KONG, 24 May 2002 - As the tough times continue to bite in Hong Kong, at-home Internet users are heading in increasing numbers to job search sites, according to latest information from Nielsen//NetRatings, the global standard in Internet media and market research. The total audience visiting job search sites grew 40 percent in April 2002 compared to the same period in 2001.

"More and more at-home Internet users are heading to job search sites in the hope of finding that elusive next career step. Close to half a million people in Hong Kong visited one in April alone, up 40 percent on the same time last year", said Peter Steyn, director of sales and marketing, Nielsen//NetRatings Hong Kong. "This compares to a growth of only 20 per cent in the total active Internet universe over the same period."

Nielsen//NetRatings' job search analysis included the top 30 job search sites accessed by Hong Kong Internet users from home.

"The clear leader in terms of unique audience is, which this year takes first place as the most visited job search site in Hong Kong, compared with 13th place last year," said Peter Steyn (see Table 1). "Nielsen//NetRatings data suggests that's appearance at the top of the list of most visited sites is due in large part to its online marketing efforts. The site demonstrates the result of a clear effort by the site owner to heavily market themselves and their online job search brand to job hunters during these tough economic times." continues to hold its runner up position, with moving up to the third spot, followed by - the recent rebranded -- rising from ninth last year to take fourth place this year., last year's top visited site, dropped to fifth place."

Nielsen//NetRatings found the demographic profile of those visiting job search sites to be in line with that of the Hong Kong Internet users profile overall, with a small skew towards men.


Table 1: Unique Audiences, At-Home, Online Job Search
Hong Kong (April 2001 vs. April 2002)

Top 5 Job Search Sites/Domains
April 2001
Unique Audience

Top 5 Job Search Sites/Domains
April 2002
Unique Audience

Total Job Search Category331,778
Total Job Search Category463,321

Source: Nielsen//NetRatings

Globally, the number of people with access to the Internet via a home PC increased from 498.2 million people in Q4 2001 to 531.3 million in Q1 2002.

The findings are from the Nielsen//NetRatings Global Internet Trends service, a quarterly subscription service reporting information on worldwide Internet access and usage trends drawn from surveys conducted in January 2002 using consistent research methodology. With the Q1 2002 reports, Nielsen//NetRatings has expanded the range of topics covered in the survey, now reporting on the top Internet Service Providers by country, speed of connection to the Internet and online activities such as email, chat, instant messaging and online radio usage.

Thursday, July 11, 2002

Travel sites take off as traffic triples

Thursday, July 11, 2002

Traffic to Hong Kong travel sites has tripled in the past year, with e-commerce portals leading the sector.

Internet research company NetValue said the number of people visiting travel and tourism sites increased from 110,400 in the first quarter of last year to 341,900 this year.

Students were the biggest group with 36.5 per cent, followed by professionals, managers, executives and businessmen at 30.3 per cent.

Excluding airlines, the name-your-price ticketing site, which was launched in April, took first place among local travel portals, followed by and China Travel's

NetValue Hong Kong sales director Tony Tan said there was less than a 5 per cent difference between the top three sites.

"We see the majority are going for more information but we do see a high increase of those doing online transactions," Mr Tan said.

Priceline Hong Kong chief executive Alfredo Gangotena said the number of people buying travel online was catching up with the United States, where travel is the No 1 form of e-commerce. "In Asia, it is third and growing fast," he said.

"The convenience and ease of buying travel through the Internet is impossible to better through traditional channels. Moreover, more and more Asians are seeking an alternative to the old-fashioned package tours." is a 65:35 joint venture between Hutchison Whampoa and Cheung Kong and Hutchison together hold about 30 per cent equity in the US portal.

NetValue research consultant Yong Soo Keong said future travel portals would have to provide more competitive packages and a faster service than their offline counterparts.

"This will be even more prevalent when the online travel industry reaches a maturity stage, where pricing and other information barriers are significantly reduced," he said.

However, a study by Nielsen//NetRatings found that since its launch, Priceline's popularity had dropped.

Priceline ranked first in May with 52,080 unique visitors, followed by with 50,621. But Cathay regained its No 1 spot last month with 37,405 visitors. The airline was followed by Chinatravelone and Wing On Travel. Priceline ranked fourth.

The research firm's Hong Kong director Peter Steyn said Priceline's drop in popularity might be due to lack of local interest in online shopping. "They find it just as convenient, and more secure, to conduct the transaction across the street at their favourite travel agent," he said.

Saturday, June 22, 2002

Education sites net women

Saturday, June 22, 2002

Women are more drawn to education Web sites than men who tend to visit gambling and porn pages, a survey by Internet media and market research company Nielsen//NetRatings has shown.

The Polytechnic University and City University sites were among the top ten sites that attracted a higher proportion of women than men.

Of 116,500 visitors to the PolyU site in April - the period covered by the survey - 52 per cent were women. Fifty-three per cent of the 138,700 visitors to the CityU site were female.

"In Hong Kong, the sites seeing the highest proportion of female traffic are typically news, career and education, while the domains with a disproportionately high percentage of males typically have a high degree of entertainment value," said director of sales and marketing Peter Steyn. He added the percentage of women using the two university sites increased even further when considering only females aged 18 or above.

The education city Web site,, an Education Department project for students, parents and teachers, topped the list of popular education sites. Chinese University's site was second, followed by City University's was in fourth place.

Friday, May 31, 2002

Saturday, May 25, 2002

Job site user numbers soar


Nearly half a million Internet users in Hong Kong visited an online job site from their computers at home last month, a 40 per cent increase from the same time last year.

Peter Steyn of Nielsen//NetRatings said the increase outpaced the 20 per cent growth in Internet use that Hong Kong saw that month.

Nielsen's findings were based on tracking home access habits of a panel of 3,000 Web users. Because the survey is limited to home users, it does not include sites that people access from the office during working hours. topped the list of sites, attracting 183,020 unique users last month., which ranked No 1 last year, had fallen to No 5, with 77,154 unique users.

Mr Steyn attributed the change to's recent heavy spending on Internet banner advertisements, especially at Microsoft's MSN portal.

"It really shows how well online promotions are working," he said.

Even if users did not click through, they often remembered names and went back later to advertised sites, he added.

The Government's job site came in at No 3 with 99,262 users, although visitors to the site spent far more time and viewed more pages than they did at any other site.

Although Hong Kong's Internet users were becoming more comfortable with looking for jobs online, the rise was "probably reflective of the economy", Mr Steyn said.

The unemployment rate has recently hit 7.1 per cent, with nearly 250,000 people out of work, according to government statistics.

The online job-seekers were more likely to be female.

While women make up only 44 per cent of the general Web audience in Hong Kong, they make up 51 per cent of the online job-seeking audience, according to Nielsen.

Mr Steyn said this was reflected elsewhere on the Web, as women tended to go online to have access to more practical information, seeking out sites about education and career.

"They're doing a bit more constructive things online," Mr Steyn said.

Wednesday, May 15, 2002

email remains the most popular application

More than 500 million people in the world have Internet access. And email remains the most popular application, says Nielsen/NetRatings.

"Of all the popular Internet applications, email is the global activity of choice," said Peter Steyn, director of the Nielsen research firm. ( News May 13, 2002).

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Tuesday, May 14, 2002

Fast connection helps boost online radio usage in HK

Hong Kong ranks among the world's highest audiences for Internet radio, according to a recent survey.

The study by Internet audience measurement firm Nielsen//NetRatings found about 38 per cent of Hong Kong adults said they listened to online radio programmes.

Hong Kong ranked second - following Brazil at 40 per cent - among the 12 countries surveyed, which included Australia, Brazil and nine European countries.

Peter Steyn, Nielsen//NetRatings Hong Kong's director, said more than 70 per cent of local households were connected to the Internet, so there was little surprise Hong Kong's Internet radio usage should be high.

"As many Hong Kong people are interested in life beyond the boundaries of Hong Kong, or have lived away from Hong Kong in places such as Australia, Canada, Britain and the US, Internet radio allows them to continue the enjoyment of local radio stations in these countries," he said

Mr Steyn said it was also due to the high Internet connection speed within the SAR.

"In Hong Kong, an astonishing 58 per cent of those who responded and have Internet access use either a cable modem or high-speed telephone connection to access the Internet. Not surprisingly, their rates for using Internet radio and looking at audio-visual content were among the highest worldwide," he said.

A total of 34 per cent said they had viewed multimedia content, following Britain at 41 per cent, Australia at 40 per cent and Brazil's 35 per cent.

About 84 per cent of local interviewees said they used e-mail. That was comparatively low and ranked seventh in the 12 places. A mere 26 per cent said they had used instant messaging.

"As all local telephone calls in Hong Kong are free, people are more likely to make a telephone call than to do instant messaging," Mr Steyn said.

"In large countries such as the US, Britain, Brazil and Australia, instant messaging provides a cheap option to have one-on-one communication with family and friends from across their country, which thus avoids long-distance calls."

According to International Data Corp (IDC), Hong Kong had an Internet penetration of 38 per cent this year. About 24 per cent of households had broadband Internet access.

About 93 per cent of local Internet users accessed the Internet for e-mail and 71 per cent accessed the Net to download and/or listen to music.

"Hong Kong users have demonstrated a high demand for online gaming, and surfing the Internet for recreation, travel, information about news and current affairs, sport, hobbies and music," IDC's market analyst Renee Gamble said.

"The strong take-up of broadband services demonstrates that Hong Kong users are willing to pay a bit more for better quality high-speed Internet access in order to make their online experience more fulfilling. They want always-on connectivity and unlimited access. And they are demanding higher speed bandwidth."

Mr Steyn added: "As more and more Hong Kong Internet users get access to broadband, and content providers take advantage of this increased bandwidth, streaming media applications will continue to shape our online experiences. These include TV or video or music-on-demand, live webcasts, Internet phones, and Internet radios."

Email Still the Killer App For Internet Users

Sending and receiving e-mail was the dominant online activity in 12 countries over the past six months, said the Nielsen//NetRatings First Quarter 2002 Global Internet Trends report. The report also found that at least 75 percent of households with Internet access participated in email.

"Of all the popular Internet applications, email is the global activity of choice," said Peter Steyn, director of the research firm. "We found that an impressive 90 percent of the adults in three major markets - Australia, the UK and the Netherlands - used email over the past six months, though the percentages were high for all 12 countries. In Hong Kong, 84 percent of those aged 16 and above have used e-mail".

"However, involvement in chat rooms was lower than 30 percent in all countries except Brazil, where 41 percent of adult Internet users used chat rooms, and in Spain where 38 percent used chat rooms. In Hong Kong, 28 percent of adults have participated in chat rooms.

Additionally, looking at audio-visual content and using Internet radio were well below 50 percent in all countries, and instant messaging has less than 30 percent penetration in several countries, including Hong Kong, France, Germany and Italy", said Steyn.

"The key to email's popularity is two-fold: it is a cost-effective way to communicate across great distances, and it does not require the same high connection speeds as some of the other applications.

In most countries, a 56k modem or slower modem is the most popular tool to access the Internet. However, in Hong Kong, an astonishing 58 percent of those who responded and have Internet access use either a cable modem or high-speed telephone connection to access the Internet. Not surprisingly, their rates for using Internet radio and looking at audio-visual content were among the highest worldwide" Steyn added

Handspring Releases Treo Mail

May 13, 2002

By Gretchen Hyman

Handspring went to market this week with its first commercially available wireless email service for its line of Treo communicators. The release of Treo Mail will give users more reasons to sing about a handheld device that allows them to combine the functions of a cell phone, personal organizer, and wireless email in one lightweight gadget.

Treo Mail's primary attraction is that it offers customizable delivery options for users to control when and how they send and receive email when away from their home or corporate desktop computer. Email can be received manually or it can be automatically delivered at scheduled time intervals. Filters can be set in place to blot out spam or unwanted email, and the service provides 128-bit SSL encryption for the secure exchange of email without a VPN or direct dial into a corporate local-area network.

Treo Mail will be offered in two different Visto-powered software packages that operate on worldwide GSM networks as well as GPRS and CDMA networks. GSM is a 2G network currently used by 80 percent of the global wireless market.

For enterprise workers on the move, the Treo Mail Corporate Desktop Edition gives users access to Microsoft Outlook/Exchange and POP3 email accounts behind the corporate firewall. Microsoft Outlook/Exchange users can also make use of 'wireless inbox synchronization,' so that messages that are read, deleted, or sent using a Treo device will appear as such on the desktop.

For individual use, the Treo Mail Internet Edition is for users who rely entirely on a personal POP3 email account from Internet Service Providers such as Earthlink, PacBell, or MSN. Treo Mail promises faster downloads and shorter connection times when receiving mail and can be delivered automatically at specified time intervals.

Mountain View, Calif.-based Handspring is stepping up to the plate at a time when email popularity is at an all-time high.

According to a Global Internet Trends report published by Nielsen/NetRatings, email is still the primary reason people use the Internet. The report states that 75 percent of households worldwide access email via the Internet.

"The key to email's popularity is two-fold: it is a cost-effective way to communicate across great distances and it does not require the same high connection speeds as some of the other applications," said Peter Steyn, director of the research firm.

However, in most cases the Treo's new email service will not liberate users from using a separate Internet Service Provider (ISP). Only a limited number of carriers currently provide Internet access as part of their mobile wireless service, which in some cases could mean that users could be sacked with three monthly fees to maintain the multi functions of the Treo: one to an ISP, one to a wireless carrier, and the yearly Treo Mail fee which varies from $49.99 to $99.99.

According to Paul Cousineau, product manager for Treo Mail, Treo and many other wireless device manufacturers are currently in limbo as network carriers make the leap to 2.5G and 3G networks that can support voice and data in all areas of the country.

"It's really a mixed bag depending on how the networks are set up," said Cousineau. "Some carriers have already included Internet access for users, but in general ISP-level service is still limited among carriers. By the end of this year, there should hopefully be more options for Treo customers. The one thing we're finding out is that there is a high level of people who already have an ISP account for their PCs and we're not finding that customers are upset by the added payments."

Both Treo email options are available for a 30-day free trial.

Earlier this month, Handspring's Treo 180 received high ratings from PC Magazine for being one of the top smart phones of choice in an industry-wide analysis of wireless devices.

Handspring is also offering a rebate on its Treo 180 communicators for consumers wanting to upgrade to a single wireless handheld device.

The offer extends through June 2, 2002.

Saturday, May 11, 2002

Internet radio proves a big turn on

Hong Kong iMail

by By Sherman Chau
HONG Kong people are among the highest users of Internet radio and audio-visual content, thanks to a high penetration of broadband access.

In the latest ratings by ACNielsen and NetRatings, the SAR was second only to Brazil in Internet radio usage of 12 countries studied, and fourth highest in viewing audio-visual content.

``In most countries in this report, a 56K modem is the most popular tool to access the Internet. However, in Hong Kong, an astonishing 58 per cent of those who responded and have Internet access use either a cable modem or high-speed telephone connection,'' ACNielsen eRatings director Peter Steyn said.

``You have a better Internet experience with broadband, so there's higher usage for things like Internet radio and visual content.''

The survey, of 1,500 Internet users in each country, found email to be the dominant online activity, with an average of 85 per cent of those surveyed having used it.

The survey said email's popularity was because it was a cost-effective way to communicate across long distances and did not require high-speed connections.

The use of instant messaging, such as ICQ, was relatively low in Hong Kong, which was seventh on the list with 26 per cent of people having used the application in the past six months.

``Instant messaging is a great way to communicate person-to-person. It's especially popular in large countries where long distance rates are high. Perhaps that's why it isn't widely used in Hong Kong. Usually it's just easier to pick up the phone to call someone,'' Steyn said.

The report studied people aged 16 or older who had used the Internet in the past six months. Hong Kong was the only Asian territory in the survey.

Web ratings merger buoys industry

South Achina Morning Post

A decision by United States-based Internet research company NetRatings to acquire 80 per cent of ACNielsen for US$9.6 million in stock is a vote of confidence in the beleaguered Internet economy, according to industry watchers., owned by ACNielsen, was a joint-venture service of the two firms to measure online advertising and user activities.

"Bringing these two companies together really helps us to integrate our business in combining our operations and also consolidating all our services under a global brand," Nielsen//NetRatings Hong Kong director Peter Steyn said.

Over the past two years, Web measurement companies have been badly hit by the Internet bust. Local start-up iamasia closed in November last year.

At the same time, NetRatings axed its sales and client services staff in South Korea, Taiwan and Singapore. NetValue Asia, the third major player in the Hong Kong market also cut staff.

Mr Steyn declined to say if the merger would lead to further job cuts at Nielsen//NetRatings or affect the local operation. He said the changes "certainly strengthen our position globally, including in Asia-Pacific".

The company reported revenue of US$23.5 million last year, up 15 per cent from US$20.4 million in 2000. Last October, it was issued the first licence to conduct Internet research in China under new mainland regulations.

The firm conducts Internet audience studies for firms in Hong Kong such as Cathay Pacific and HSBC.

Interactive marketing company Modem Media said companies were increasing their spending on Internet use studies.

"Definitely, they are spending more," Modem Media's regional director Brett King said. "They are getting smarter in using this medium."

Mr King said studies were mostly data-targeted and could provide more information and background on potential and present customers, enabling companies to adjust their marketing programmes and optimise the benefits.

"In this environment, people are very concerned about streaming online and the most important thing to them is their return on investment," Mr King said. "The research can provide a more accurate understanding of the audience so companies know how to address their needs, which would be impossible without the data."

Yahoo! Hong Kong marketing manager Quinnie Ng, a subscriber of eRatings' information, said Internet audience studies were of high value. "There is a need for such research so we can learn more about online surfers and their behaviour," Ms Ng said.