Internet Fast Becoming a Global Draw

Much as we Americans like to think that we have a firm command on all things Internet, it’s clear that the rest of the world is catching on to the global reach of the Web.

A report released today by StatMarket, an Internet data source, shows that foreign domain Internet access is ratcheting up gradually and now stands at nearly 44 percent of all Web traffic.

The increase in Internet use across the globe will surely shape the future of e-commerce. There’s been a spate of e-commerce sites aimed at Japanese and Chinese consumers in recent months and weeks and there’s bound to be more given the widely-accepted analysis that Internet use will boom in the Asian countries.

In fact, Japan accounted for 23 percent of all foreign traffic, StatMarket said, followed by Germany at 15.5 percent, the UK at 6.6 percent, Canada at nearly 5 percent, and Australia and Italy at just above 4 percent. Sweden, France, and The Netherlands trail and Switzerland anchors the bottom of the Top 10 with 1.5 percent.

China, with some 2 million Internet users, did not weigh in on the list. However, many e-commerce retailers salivate at the thought of a huge consumer market that is developing a taste for capitalism.

Internet users in China are expected to exceed 10 million in two years, but the jury is still out on whether the Chinese authorities will lift some prohibitive restraints on its use and allow the freedom that users and retailers need to succeed.

Tallying Up the Total

StatMarket is the invention of WebSideStory, a San-Diego, California-based company that prefers counting heads to rumbling on the West Side.

The company operates HitBOX Tracker, which is the tracking device that provides statistical analysis on some 86,000 Web sites and their 28 million unique visitors. Founded in 1996, the company says that it generates 100 million hits daily. It also operates surf engine

WebSideStory has generated some ink for its decidely un-Net like behavior in eschewing venture capital, a move as rare for an Internet company on the go as the sighting of a snow leopard on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan.

Privately held, the company is expected to generate some $12 million (US$) in 1999, 40 to 60 percent of that profit and it anticipates profit tripling every quarter. Founder Blaise Barrelet, a Frenchman, was quoted as saying recently that he would have to be restrained and someone would dial 911 in his country if he expected to spend and lose other people’s money.

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