SHANGHAI China has surpassed the United States to become the world's largest Internet market by number of users, a research firm said on Thursday. The estimate by Beijing-based BDA was based on data from China Internet Network Information Center which indicated that the country's Internet users totaled 210 million at end-2007.
Nielsen/NetRatings put the United States Web population at 216 million for the same period, BDA said.
"Based on these sources and the assumption that these markets have continued to grow in 2008 to date at the same rates that they grew in 2007, we can conclude that China has by now comfortably surpassed the United States as the world's largest Internet population," analyst Bin Liu said in a statement.
BDA added that it expected e-commerce to become the next boom sector in China, as businesses take advantage of the mass market of consumers already online.
(Reporting by Sophie Taylor; Editing by Edmund Klamann)