China's online research boom
A massive 40% of the world's online population now resides in Asia, with a third of them living in China. In terms of the number of online users, China is now second only to the United States. Indeed, with an annual growth that was due to top 18% in 2007, its current 162 million users will eclipse the US as the dominant online population within three years.
The scale of the internet population is leading companies increasingly to consider online research as an alternative survey platform for Chinese projects. Led by multinationals, interested in reaping the benefits of centralised control and standardisation of methodology across their global research programmes, the use of online-based surveys in China has grown quite rapidly within the major population centres of Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou (the Tier 1 cities).