China's Firefox growth kicks Aussies off top user list

Australia has missed out making it into a list of countries containing the most Firefox users, with the number of Chinese users of the browser taking over Australian ones between November and December.

Australia has missed out making it into a list of countries containing the most Firefox users, with the number of Chinese users of the browser taking over Australian ones between November and December.

According to the blog of Mozilla VP of Engineering, Mick Schroepfer, two percent of Firefox users come from China, while Australia has been lumped into the countries in the "others" category making up 29 percent of Firefox users.

"China is the fastest growing locale in relative share," Schroepfer said.

Recent information from the China Internet Network Information Centre numbers China's Internet users at 210 million, making China the second-largest Internet market after the USA, and makes Firefox growth in the region of great interest to Mozilla.

Gong Li, CEO of the Chinese Mozilla subsidiary Mozilla Online, said that the company is aiming for a user increase of five to 10 percent. The December partnership between Mozilla Online and Baidu -- which is as dominant in the Chinese search market as Google is in Western countries -- could help achieve this goal.

The US has the largest number of Firefox users at 29 percent, followed by Germany with 13, France with six and Poland, the UK and Canada with four percent. Three percent of Firefox users are Brazilian, with China joining Italy, Japan, and Spain in each accounting for two percent of the browser's fans.

The figures come from analysed data produced by the Firefox Application Update Server, otherwise known as AUS, which Firefox uses to keep itself up to date with security patches.

Around once a day, Firefox pings Mozilla servers to check if there's a new update available, and if there is, it gives users the option to download it. The pings are counted, giving a rough idea of how many instances of Firefox were running. Comparing the data from AUS with an IP database, the spread of global users can be determined.

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