As the below graphs suggest, Southeast Asia’s internet use appears to be growing substantially in at least six nations.

In 2011 the numbers looked like this….

internet_users_in_southeast_asia2.png

While in 2016 the numbers look like this …

internet_users_in_southeast_asia

World Bank figures on internet penetration in Southeast Asia (to 2011) can be seen in the graph below. Note the comparative much higher rates in Singapore and Malaysia, with Vietnam also scaping in just ahead of the global mean (in green).

internet_users_in_southeast_asia3.png

I’ll consider saying more in a future post, but the correlation of increasing internet use with the surging growth and wealth of Southeast Asia’s/Asia’s middle class may be significant.

Nevertheless the key question to me is whether these numbers point to a growing digital divide in the region. That divide could emerge both internationally and within different countries, leading to diverse digital inequalities that may have increasingly  significant political and economic ramifications.

From a research perspective the fascinating element is that the internet data’s digital nature ensures the variable could be easily measured, although whether it could be just as easily accessed is a very different question.

Acknowledgement and thanks to the kind folk at e27, the data here and the author here for their work in creating these graphs.

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