China has more Internet users than US, India, and Japan combined (maps)

Map of Internet Users in the World by country and percentage of population online
Above: Map  of the Global Internet Community - source: The World Online | Geonet,  Ralph Straumann and Mark Graham,
 Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford, England. This work is licensed under CC BY-NC 3.0
The global Internet community: the above map shows the total number of Internet users in a country (size of the country) as well as the percentage of the population that has Internet access (shade of the country). It is an update of the Oxford Internet Institute 2011 visualization.

Data and Method: The map uses 2013 data on Internet users and population that was obtained from the World Bank. The World Bank has tracked the number of Internet users per country since the 1990s as part of its Worldwide Governance Indicators project. The data is visualized using a hexagonal cartogram (a distorted map). In this cartogram, the size of each country is drawn based on the absolute number of its Internet users, while keeping the countries’ and continents’ shapes as close to their true shape as possible. Each small hexagon accounts for about half a million people online. Countries with fewer Internet users do not show up in the cartogram. Note the small inset map showing the actual relative sizes of the continents. The shading of each country in the cartogram represents the share of the population that has Internet access (the so-called Internet penetration): darker shades indicate higher rates of Internet access among the population.


1. The continued rise of Asia as a major home region to the world’s Internet population. At 1.24 billion users, 46% of the world’s Internet users live in Asia. That is roughly equal to the number of Internet users in Europe, Latin America & Caribbean, Middle East & North Africa, and North America combined.

2. China is home to the world’s largest Internet population of a country at 600 million people. The United States, India, and Japan then follow as the next most populous nations of Internet users with 270 million, 190 million, and 110 million people online, respectively. Even though a majority of Chinese people have never used the Internet, China has more Internet users than the US, India, and Japan combined.

India is projected to overtake China as the world's most populous country in 2028, according to the United Nations. At that point, both nations will number 1.45 billion people. Subsequently India's population will continue to grow until the middle of the century, while China's slowly declines. But India is lagging compared to China in its Internet infrastructure and Internet population. Why?--

A digital roadmap (eiu.com): "Growing numbers of India's 1.3 billion population are engaging with digital technology, using smartphones and tablets to access a range of internet-based services and applications. India is currently the fastest-growing smartphone market in the world, and yet its internet and broadband penetration rates are low when compared with its high-growing BRIC nation counterparts. The Economist Intelligence Unit expects the broadband penetration rate in India to rise only marginally, from 1.7% in 2014 to 3.3% in 2019. According to recently published government data, only 100 million people had broadband connections as of April 2015. Overall internet penetration will rise further, to 56.7% in 2019, from 19.7% in 2014. But for a country that is expected to become the world's second-largest internet market by 2019 in terms of users (totalling 755 million), its penetration rate will remain behind that of Russia (71%), China (66%) and Brazil (65%). Lagging average internet connection speeds—for which India has been ranked 115th worldwide, according to research by Akamai Technologies—will leave India further trailing rival emerging markets in the digital race." (emphasis added)

Meanwhile China's lack of internet freedom continues to hinder its population and economy:

China to Set Up ‘Security Offices’ Inside Internet Companies - Bloomberg Business: The Ministry of Public Security will add police officers at “critical” companies to help boost defenses against cyber-attacks and fight criminal activity, the state-run Xinhua News Agency reported, citing a ministry conference.

China to set up Internet police in tech firms | Seeking Alpha:
  • China is setting up cybersecurity police units at major Internet companies, a move aimed at strengthening the government's grip on the world's largest population of Web users.
  • The officers will be added to help boost defenses against crimes such as fraud and "spreading of rumors."
  • Beijing is also discussing a separate plan to build a national cyber safety net, enabling national and local governments to cut Internet access when needed.

As Domain Mondo has noted before (see: Domain Mondo: Domain Name Registrations and the Global Internet Population), there are three "must haves" which provide the foundation for a viable domain name industry in a given market or country:
  1. Internet access which is fast (broadband/4G) and affordable to the local population;
  2. Internet freedom (absence of censorship);
  3. High GDP (gross domestic product) per capita (see map below) or high GNI per capita.
Which is why the domain name industry (and most domain name registrations) are heavily concentrated in North America-Europe-Australia/New Zealand.

Global map of countries showing GDP per capita (nominal) 2014
"GDP per capita (nominal) 2014" by Sarah Biddle - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0
Wikimedia Commons
See also Domain Mondo: Internet Broadband Affordability Map, A Global Digital Divide

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