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Updated Web Stats

05 August, 2009
By Allison Orr

At the end of 2008, the global number of Internet users reached more than a billion and a half (1,574,313,184), according to Internet World Stats.  The global Internet penetration rate, the percentage of the population that uses the Internet, was estimated at 23.5%; showing that nearly one in every four persons in the world is an Internet user.  This is a global average, though, and different geographic regions show markedly different user rates.  The lowest rate is Africa, with 5.6 per cent, compared with the highest rate, in North America, with 74.4 per cent.

At the individual country level, Australia continues to have one of the highest penetration rates in the world, at 80.6 per cent.

The Internet population of China at the end of 2008 was listed at just below 300 million, but the number of users has exploded in 2009, according to the Xinhua news agency as reported in an article in The Australian.  China‚Äôs online population rose by 40 million in the last six months, giving it an online population greater than the entire population of the US.

The growing online population is considered to be of concern to the Chinese authorities, who regularly block access to sites such as Facebook and YouTube.  In May this year, the Chinese government issued a directive mandating the installation of filtering software called Green Dam Youth Escort.

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