Singapore: Still the most wired nation in AP

Countries in Asia Pacific (excluding Japan) have started the year more keen than ever on the Internet, with Singapore still the region's most wired nation.

Countries in Asia Pacific (excluding Japan) have started the year more keen than ever on the Internet, with Singapore still the region's most wired nation.

SINGAPORE - Almost half of the island's households--47.4 percent--are connected to the Internet. The next most connected territory is Taiwan, with 40 percent. Korea, with 37.3 percent, is a close third, while Hong Kong (26.2 percent) and China's four largest cities Beijing, Guangzhou, Shanghai and Shenzhen round off the list provided by Netvalue yesterday, with 17.9 percent.

The research firm noted, however, that 73.5 percent of the wired households in China got their connections in the past two years, showing the speed at which the country is hurrying along on the information highway.

China also differs from the other countries studied in the profile of its surfers. Whereas 15 to 24 year-olds form the bulk of Net users throughout Asia, more 25 to 34 year-olds in China surf.

In all five markets, students outnumber professionals as Net users.

Chatting, games and instant messaging is catching on in Asia Pacific.

Surfing is still the activity of choice in all markets, with users in China being the most enthusiastic--83 percent surf. However, Singaporeans are surfing less, with just 53.3 percent of users into pure Web usage. Instead, non-web activity audio-video has been gaining ground, forming an impressive 30.4 percent of activity.

Local sites dominate in China, Korea, Taiwan. This could be due to language constraints. However, in Hong Kong, and especially in Singapore, international sites are popular. Yahoo.com is top in both territoies, while msn and icq are also favourites.