How Internet Growth Is Playing Out in Top Emerging Markets

The number of Internet users in the top emerging markets is set to nearly double by 2015 — a pace of growth that sounds enticing but that actually presents plenty of challenges for businesses, according to a Boston Consulting Group report released Wednesday.

The report estimates that China, India, Brazil, Russia and Indonesia will have 1.2 billion Internet users within five years, up from about 610 million in 2009.

Developing countries didn’t go through the same technological development that the U.S. did, but their late arrival to the Web means that they get to skip things like bulky grey PCs and go straight to mobile devices. But technology use is evolving so rapidly there that it can be tough for businesses to keep up.

“China provides an instructive example because, for many companies, opportunities have already been missed,” the report says. “Most of the relationships between the digital players and Chinese consumers have already been cemented.”

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