WAP gains popularity in Japan

Of the 10 million Japanese who logged on to the Net for the first time in 1999, 3.67 million used cellular phones to go online.

Of the 10 million Japanese who logged on to the Net for the first time in 1999, 3.67 million used cellular phones to go online.

TOKYO, 24 May 2000 (Asia Pulse) - Some 27 million Japanese surfed the World Wide Web in 1999, about 60% more than the year before, the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications reported Tuesday.

This means that more than 20% of the total population logged on to the Internet last year. Although this is only half the percentage of Web enthusiasts in the U.S., the fast pace of growth should enable Japan to catch up with America by 2005, when the number of Net users here will top 70 million, the report said.

The increase in Net users is mainly attributed to the rising popularity of the i-mode Internet access service offered by NTT DoCoMo Inc.(TSE:9437) and similar services of other telecommunications firms.

The ratio of Net users rose to 21.4% in 1999 from 13.4% the previous year. While still trailing the 40% recorded in the U.S. and Canada, the ratio is about the same as that of the U.K. and higher than in Germany, Italy and France. Of the 10 million Japanese who logged on to the Net for the first time in 1999, 3.67 million used cellular phones to go online.

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