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Sun and Moon Pagodas

Asia's share on the online population is forecast to reach 43% by 2013, while the United States and Canada's share will decrease to 13%, according to a report released by Forrester Research.  The percent of the online population represented by Europe will also decline in this period since internet penetration there is already very high.


Latin America's share is expected to remain stable at 11%.  Marketers who sell there can reach more than 50% of those users by targeting just two countries: Brazil and Mexico.  That means a company's website will only need to be translated and localized for two markets.


What are the implications for American companies? 


Online content in English will not be enough to sustain growth outside of North America and Europe as consumers in regions conduct searches in their native languages.


What else will change?





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The number is probably higher than you thought.


Ethnologue has catalogued over 6800 languages, but only a third of them have writing systems.  The good news for international businesses is that 5% of the world's languages are spoken by 94% of the population. 


If your business is online, the news gets even better.  You can reach 88% of the world's most active internet spenders with just five languages in addition to English:

  1. Japanese
  2. German
  3. Spanish
  4. French
  5. Italian

If you are doing business in China, you might want to add simplified Chinese to the languages you have translated.  The number of internet users in China is now larger than the population of the U.S. (see our earlier post on internet growth in China:





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Our friends at are researchers whose mission is "to discover what really works in optimization".    They offer the following tips for optimizing Spanish-language websites:


  • Make sure your landing page answers the following questions for your visitors:

              Where am I?  What can I do here? Why should I do it?

  • Your headline should confirm the value of your site and let them know they came to the right place
  • Try to quantify the benefit for the visitors: "Save 50% on your calls to El Salvador".
  • Are there any cultural elements that will connect with them, such as having a famous Mexican actress endorse a beauty product?
  • Test Google ads in Spanish and emphasize value in your ads.
  • The entire experience should be in Spanish, including the shopping cart, to avoid losing visitors right before check-out.
  • A dedicated Spanish-language site is better than a sub-domain because it communicates more effectively.  It can also improve the site's results in Google searches.


Last but not least, steer clear of online translators such as Google Translate because the poor quality of these translations "undermines your site's credibility, causing anxiety to your visitors...and it becomes insulting".


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Global urban rail map


Internet World Stats has released new information on internet usage through the end of 2008.   The number of users in South America grew more than anywhere else, 65%, and has reached almost 129 million.   The number of Asians online increased by almost 140 million last year to 650+ million, but 83% of the population is still not online


The U.S. Census Bureau calculates the global population to be slightly above 6.7 billion, which means that 23.5% of the world's population is online.  Future growth will come from Asia,  South America, the Middle East, the Caribbean, and Africa.  Will your website be ready?



More information is avalable at

Posted By P & L Blog

 Cyber Tienda


A recent AOL/RoperASW study found that over half of Hispanics who aren't online say that there isn't enough content in Spanish, and another 49% notes the lack of sites that interest them.


Communispace, a research firm, offers suggestions on how marketers can create interesting content in Spanish to reach these consumers online.  They suggest creating an environment where people's opinions are valued and where they feel comfortable sharing information.  Communispace says that "relevance is insured because members are generating much of the content".


The entire article can be read here:




Image by Daquella Manera under Creative Commons license



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