Some 700 million more people are going to go online in the next five years, according to a report released today by Forrester Research, hitting 2.2 billion by 2013. Much of the growth is seen taking place in emerging markets in Asia like China, India and Indonesia, with annual growth rates of 10-20 percent. Southern and Eastern Europe are expected to show heavy growth as well. Online penetration within the United States, meanwhile, is forecast to rise to 82 percent from 73 percent, putting the U.S. on par with the most penetrated markets of Europe and Asia.
Currently, Forrester says, China has 209.1 million Internet users vs. the U.S.’s 222.5 million. The firm expects that number to almost double, to 377.1 million, at which point Internet penetration in the country would be at 27 percent. This massive growth in Internet use will likely test the regime’s Great Firewall, the filtering system that the Chinese government uses to keep undesirable content from reaching the masses.