Internet users worldwide surpass 1 billion in December

McDonalds restaurants and global Internet usage share something in common.

Over 1 billion served within a month.

Global Internet usage reached over 1 billion unique visitors in the month of December, with 41.3 percent coming from the Asia-Pacific region, according to a report released Friday by comScore.

The study looked at Internet users over the age of 15, who accessed the net from their home or work computers in the month of December.

Europe grabbed the next largest slice, with 28 percent of the global Internet audience, followed by the U.S. with an 18.4 percent slice.

But Latin America, while holding a much smaller piece of 7.4 percent of the global Internet audience, is the one to watch, noted Jamie Gavin, a comScore senior analyst.

“The U.S. is slowing down in its growth and momentum, but Latin America, with social networking and the mobile Internet, is expected to gain momentum over the next few years,” Gavin said.

He noted that while population plays a role in aiding certain regions to lay claim to a larger Internet audience, another equally important factor is the ability of the Internet to easily cross borders and take root.

Within the regions, the country of China accounted for the most Internet users worldwide, with a 17.8 share of unique visitors, according to the report. The United States ranked second with 16.2 percent and Japan a distant third at 6 percent.

And across specific Internet properties, Google carried a sizable share of the global Internet market, accounting for 77 percent of the worldwide audience, or nearly 776 million users.

Microsoft Web sites represented 64.2 percent of the pie and Yahoo sites 55.8 percent, according to comScore. AOL LLC, meanwhile, represented 27.1 percent of the worldwide Internet audience.

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