Friday, July 25, 2008

Globalization: Some Numbers


I've been thinking a lot about the global internet lately.

Here are the May comScore numbers for total Internet audience

Worldwide - 853mm (up 10% from 772mm last year)

North America - 185mm (up 4% from 178mm last year)

Europe - 240mm (up 8% from 223mm last year)

Asia - 323mm (up 14% from 283mm last year)

Latin America - 63mm (up 19% from 53mm last year)

Middle East/Africa - 43mm (up 23% from 35mm last year)

As is typically the case, the smallest markets are growing the fastest. But a couple other things stand out to me. Asia added 40mm Internet users in the past year. Europe added 17mm. Latin America added 10mm. Africa and the Middle East added more than North America.

It's as Fareed Zakaria says "the US isn't declining, but the rest of the world is rising".

And I'll end this brief post with a link to Pascal Zachary's article in the New York Times about technology in Nairobi, Kenya. If you, like me, are thinking about the global reach of technology and the Internet, then you should read it. This paragraph is telling:

Still, Nairobi is home to a digital brew that invites optimism about its chances for creating unusual innovations. The city has relatively few wired phone lines or networked personal computers, so mobile phones are the essential digital tool. Four times as many people have them as have bank accounts. Text messages are far more popular than e-mail. Safaricom, the dominant mobile provider, offers a service called M-pesa that lets customers send money with text messages. Nokia sells brand-new phones here for as little as $33.

The numbers at the top of this post are for computers (PCs) connected to the Internet. They would look very different if they were total internet connected devices (PCs + mobile phones).

When we went out to raise a second fund at the start of this year, we told our investors that the Internet was getting more global, more mobile, more social, more intelligent, and more playful.

Those are all big trends, but the first two are tightly linked and very powerful as Pascal's article points out.