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Google may be the most popular web destination in North America. It may be tops in Europe. It may be on its way to conquering the universe. But it's a step behind in Asia.

Internet research firm comScore has released its first "comprehensive" study of the Asia-Pacific region, detailing Internet usage in ten of the region's largest countries, and Google trails the competition in all ten.

"We all know that the Asia-Pacific region is large and that Internet usage is growing rapidly," said Bob Ivins, executive vice president of comScore. "What is fascinating about this study is that it allows us to compare Internet usage across countries using a consistent measurement methodology and to then determine where PC-based Internet engagement is most developed."

According to the study, which accounts for one-third of the world's Internet users, Yahoo!'s sites are the region's most popular, grabbing the top spot in Hong Kong, India, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, and Taiwan. Meanwhile, Microsoft domains are the most visited in Australia, China, and New Zealand, with the Seoul-based NHN Corporation taking top honors in South Korea.

"Yahoo! has always had a very strong presence in Asia, particularly in Japan and Korea," Ivins told The Register.

Trailing Microsoft as well as Yahoo!, Google's sites are the region's third most popular. The Mountain View, California-based outfit takes the second spot in Australia, India, Malaysia, and New Zealand, and the third spot in Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, and Taiwan. But in China and South Korea - which boast two of region's largest Internet populations - it doesn't even crack the top three. And this includes hits on YouTube, the video sharing site recently purchased by Google.

All that said, comScore still ranks Google-run sites as the most popular worldwide.

In May, the study says, the Asia-Pacific region included nearly 284 million Internet users aged 15 or older. That represents a third of the worldwide Internet population - though each user spends a little less time on the Net than others around globe. In Asia-Pacific, according to comScore, the average user is online 20.2 hours each month, viewing 2,171 pages. The global averages are 25.2 hours and 2,519 pages a month.

The survey shows that China has the region's largest number of Internet users: 91.5 million. But that accounts for only 9 per cent of the country's overall population. South Korea boasts the highest Internet usage rate at 65 per cent, followed by Australia (62 per cent), New Zealand (60 per cent), and Hong Kong (59 per cent). India brings up the rear at 3 per cent.

Japan (53 million) and South Korea (26.3 million) have the region's second and third largest online populations. Together, China, Japan, and South Korea account for 60 percent of all Asia-Pacific Internet users.®

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