The Challenges of Calculating the Number of Net Users Worldwide

According to a survey by Ipsos-Insight shared by eMarketer, Canada is the county with the highest percentage of its adult population online – 71% or 16 million. The US is the biggest online user with 128 million users online or 68% of its adult population. Where this survey’s results became questionnable is the numbers about China and its online population.

The survey claims that 41% of the Chinese urban market is online. Sounds like a good percentage for an up-and-coming online nation — that is, until you see the absolute number of 6 million Chinese online. I doubt either the math rules or the numbers of the Chinese internet users quoted in this survey…

If 41% of the adults Chinese have internet connection and it results only in 6 million internet users in (urban) China, this would imply that the urban population of China is 14.63 million… The Shanghai metropolisalone has some 12 million…

According to the Chinese newspaper, People’s Daily, as of the end of 1999, the urban population in China’s 668 cities totals 376 million.

From a Reuters report I quoted a week or so ago:

According to a semi-official Chinese research centre, the China Internet Network Information Centre, the number of Internet surfers in China has grown to 79.5 million people at the end of 2003, up an annual 34.5 percent.

China, which already had the world’s second-largest Web population after the United States, added 20.4 million new online users during the year. Total users will grow very quickly in the next five years, the centre has said in its twice-yearly report.