Just when you begin to think that the Internet has become a way of life for the planet, you read a few Internet usage stats from Nua. According to the folks at Nua, just less than 10% of the world’s population has access to the Internet.
“At the end of May 2002, approximately 580.78 million people around the world had access to the Net, up from 407.1 million in December 2000.”
The Internet is still very much a country club with restricted membership.
And while this is sad, I’m excited to see that the makeup of the membership is changing. For starters, Americans aren’t the majority any longer:
“For the first time ever, Europe has the highest number of people with access to the Internet. There are now 185.83 million Europeans online, compared to 182.3 million in the US and Canada and 167.86 million in Asia/Pacific.”
For more stats, click here.
Living in the U.S., it’s easy to take a one-sided view of globalization, where U.S. companies expand into foreign markets. But globalization cuts both ways, and I always love to see foreign companies take on U.S. multinationals on their home turf. For example, how will KFC handle Pollo Campero now that it has gone local?
Polo Campero is a Guatemalan fast food chain that just opened its first U.S. branch in Los Angeles. You can read the NY Times article here.
For a very good overview of the challenges of overcoming our current locales dilemma, check out Tex Texin’s presentation from the recent Unicode conference. I’m not sure there is going to be an locales solution that pleases everyone. But we do need to do a better job of tagging content than just “fr_ca” or “en_us.”
A good article about Japanese culture (and American ignorance) in the NY Times.
It’s official! The book I spent the past year on is now available from Amazon. It came in at a whopping 576 pages and – as I look through it again – was a very ambitious undertaking. I set out to create a book that covered the full landscape of Web globalization issues – from planning to marketing to technical and linguistic obstacles. I even added a section about international domain names. Then the editor suggested “Hands On” sections and I added those as well; the Hands On sections were actually quite a bit of work considering that I had to recruit volunteer translators across eight languages. But the hard work was well worth it. I’m very proud of this book and I hope people like it.
Continue reading “Beyond Borders: Web Globalization Strategies”