According to Internet World Stats, there’s still a majority of English speakers online – currently 327 million or just under 30% of total web users. The number of Chinese-speaking web users is catching up fast though – there are currently 153 million of them, or 14% of the total, a number that has grown 374% since 2000. If this kind of growth continues, maybe Chinese speakers will one day outnumber English speakers online, as they already do offline. The numbers of Spanish, French, Portuguese and Arabic speakers on the web have also been increasing rapidly.
Stats like this are perhaps one of the reasons why an increasing number of people are studying Chinese, and also why many companies are having their websites translated into Chinese.
I came across the stats site via the Global Language Monitor, which “documents, analyzes and tracks trends in language the world over, with a particular emphasis upon Global English.” – looks interesting.