Internet and Its Impact on Developing Countries; Examples from India and China

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The Internet and its impact on developing countries: examples from China and India T. Kanti Srikantaiah
Dominican University, River Forest, Illinois, USA and

The Internet and its impact on China and India 199
Received February 1998 Revised March 1998

Dong Xiaoying
Peking University, Beijing, China
Introduction In the new information climate many countries are relying on electronic access to information through the Internet, which is revolutionising information management and information technology. Developed countries have improved their communication systems and are able to share information in a user-friendly environment. They have used the Internet in various sectors: • agriculture; • health; • public sector management; • industry; • environment; • telecommunications; • trade; • etc. The Internet is now penetrating developing countries. This paper discusses the role of the Internet in such countries, with specific reference to China and India. The Internet The idea of the Internet originated about 25 years ago at the US Defense Department Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA), to keep track of data through computer hardware and software. The Internet is now a complex web of networks connected with high-speed links cutting across countries. There are no set boundaries for the Internet in cyberspace. Recent statistics show 50,000 networks in more than 100 countries with more than 50 million users (MIDS press release). It is estimated that the rate of growth in Internet use is around 20 per cent a month. Currently the Internet is not proprietary and is available to anyone with computer access connected to the external world. Since the USA launched the information superhighway in 1994, the Internet has come to play an ever-increasing role in the vast information market in many countries (Table I).

Asian Libraries, Vol. 7 No. 9, 1998, pp. 199-209. © MCB University Press, 1017-6748

Asian Libraries 7,9

Country G-7 countries Canada France Germany Italy Japan Great Britain USA Africa South Africa Cyprus Tunisia Jamaica Senegal Egypt Mozambique Burkina Faso Cameroon Ghana Kenya Morocco New Caledonia Niger Swaziland

Host

Initial connection

Country Turkey Indonesia Philippines India China Kuwait Malaysia United Arab Republic Kazakhstan Macau Fiji Uzbekistan Vietnam Lebanon Lithuania Latin America Brazil Mexico Chile Ecuador Peru Argentina Bermuda Venezuela Puerto Rico Costa Rica Guam Virgin Islands Nicaragua Panama Dominican Republic

Host 22,963 10,861 4,309 4,794 25,594 3,555 6 994 1,136 1 0 153 3 1,128 2,761

Initial connection 12/91 07/93 04/94 11/90 04/94 12/92 11/92 11/93 11/93 04/94 06/93 12/94 04/95 06/94 04/94

200

690,316 292,096 875,631 211,966 955,688 878,215 825,048

07/88 07/88 09/89 08/89 08/89 04/89 07/88

419 1,973 15 349 275 1,894 44 2 75 275 457 888 59 34 240

12/91 12/92 05/91 05/94 10/94 11/93 03/95 10/94 12/92 10/94 11/93 10/94 10/94 10/94 05/94

Asia and Middle East Taiwan 40,706 12/91 Table I. South Korea 132,370 04/90 Distribution of hosts Israel 61,140 08/89 connected to the Internet Singapore 60,674 05/91 (1997): G-7 countries, Thailand 12,794 07/92 Africa, Asia, Middle East and Latin America Source of host number: http://www.nw.com/zone/www/dist-byname.html, 1997

68,685 126 19,168 1,078 6,510 18,985 1,648 4,679 114 4,259 91 7 743 390 25

06/90 02/89 04/90 07/92 11/93 10/90 05/90 02/94 10/89 01/93 10/93 03/93 02/94 06/94 04/95

Malaysia’s Prime Minister, Mahathir Mohammed, once said:
It can be no accident that there is today no wealthy developed country that is information poor, and no information rich country that is poor and underdeveloped (Nagy, 1991, p. 57).

This statement emphasises the importance of the Internet for developing countries. From an international perspective access to and use of the Internet is unbalanced; there are obvious gaps between developed and developing countries in terms of the numbers of nets, hosts and users. As a...
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