Languages online

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.

8 thoughts on “Languages online

  1. But how are they using the Net? In Chinese or in other languages?

    When they’re using it in Chinese, are they using Chinese characters or romanisations? Or both? In what proportion?

  2. If you’ve ever bought computer peripherals from Chinese vendors in eBay, you may well be curious as to *how* exactly they are managing to use the net – my most recent purchase of a wireless rechargable mouse crashes machines (I’ve tried several) as soon as you plug it in to the USB port.

  3. Obviously they would be using Chinese… be it Windows, Mac OS X, or even Linux, there are Chinese localizations.

    As for what kind of characters, I’m assuming you’re asking simplified vs traditional, majority of Chinese are in mainland China so they would be using simplified Chinese.

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