Asian Net users most engaged online

Chinese youths spend more leisure time online than anyone else globally, while Koreans top the world in social networking, new study finds.

Internet users in China aged below 25 spend on average 50 percent of their leisure time online, according to a findings of a new survey.

Released Friday, the Digital World, Digital Life study by market research firm TNS showed that the global average for the amount of leisure time spent in cyberspace was nearly 30 percent.

Over 27,500 people aged 18 to 55 years were interviewed online for the study. The respondents came from Australia, Canada, China, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Korea, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Top 5 online activities

1. Search for information--81 percent
2. Read news--76 percent
3. Bank online--74 percent
4. Check weather report/forecast--65 percent
5. Look up a product or service--63 percent
Source: TNS

Besides the Chinese, users in Japan and Korea also spend a significant amount of time on the Internet. Respondents in the two countries say they spend on average about 40 percent of their leisure time engaged in online activities.

Those surveyed in China also demonstrated high levels of social media engagement, said TNS in a media statement. Ninety-four percent of respondents in the country said they participated in forums or bulletin board services, and about six-in-10 Chinese forum visitors contribute on a regular--daily or several times a week--basis. Italian and Spanish users were ranked second and third, respectively, in forum contribution.

Nearly nine out of 10 Chinese respondents indicated they actively read blogs or contribute to them, and 85 percent said they participate in chatrooms.

Koreans, on the other hand, ranked highest in social network site engagement--86 percent of respondents said they were involved in social networking. Net users in Korea, on average, were members of 4.6 sites.

Germany stood out for its wiki involvement, with 92 percent of German respondents indicating they view or contribute to wikis.

"Our data clearly demonstrates how Asian countries are taking the lead when it comes to social media usage and participation," said Bernice Klaassen, TNS' Interactive head in Singapore and Hong Kong. "These relatively new channels are opening up unprecedented opportunities for self-expression, communication and interaction, and more and more we see that the Web is becoming integral to all aspects of people's personal and social lives."