Is Chinese the New Language of the Internet?

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English is often considered the need-to-know language for conducting international business, but how will the expansion of the Internet into rural communities in China and India affect that? This infographic created by The Next Web Asia using data from Internet World Stats shows that China has added 36 million Internet users just over the past year, reaching 440 million across the entire country. That's a huge number -- and more than the entire population of the United States -- but it doesn't even represent a 50 percent saturation rate. "[W]ith Chinese Internet growth rising at the rate it is, it could be less than five years before Chinese becomes the dominant language on the Internet," The Next Web suggests.

Looking a bit further into the data (click on the image below for a larger version), you'll see that there's still a 91 million person difference between Chinese users and English users of the Internet, but there's nearly a 10 percent difference (40 percent vs. 32.6 percent) between the two when you look at penetration rates. "Total market penetration for the Internet in English speaking countries is higher than in China," the report explains. "This gives these countries (and their language) much less room to grow, apart from natural population growth and immigration." No other language comes close.

TNW_internetlanguages_vs4.jpeg

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Nicholas Jackson is a former associate editor at The Atlantic.

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