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limited liability corporations - Much has been made of the rise in the number of women online in the United States, the world's largest Internet market. But globally, the United States and Canada are the only Internet markets where females are the majority, according to Nielsen//NetRatings. Of the 26 countries measured by Nielsen//NetRatings, Germany has the most predominantly male audience at 63 percent. "Germany is an established Internet market with the third-highest Internet universe in the world," said Richard Goosey, chief of measurement science and analytics at Nielsen//NetRatings. "Where are the women in this market?" In June, German men spent nearly 8.5 hours online during 18 online sessions, while German women spent seven hours online surfing 14 sessions. "Surprisingly, for an audience so heavily skewed towards men, sites mainly focused on sports were the second least popular category in Germany in June," Goosey said. "Followed only -- not as surprisingly-- by family and lifestyle sites, which were the least popular category last month." In France, the Internet audience is 62 percent male, and in June Nielsen//NetRatings reports that French women spent half as much time online as men. In both Germany and France, telecom and Internet services Web sites were the most popular category, reaching nearly 80 percent of the active audience in each market. In France, despite the heavily male audience, certain categories that would be expected to attract male Internet users, such as sports and automotive sites, ranked very close to the bottom of the category list for June, attracting less than 10 percent of the active audience. Females in the Asia-Pacific region, while still in the minority, are fast gaining ground on their male counterparts. Since January of 2001, the number of female Web surfers has grown an average of 36 percent across the region, with the number of Korean women online increasing 55 percent, followed by Taiwan at 27 percent, both Singapore and Australia at 16 percent, Hong Kong at 11 percent and New Zealand at 10 percent. In the United States, where 52 percent of the Internet audience was female in June, the time spent online by each gender was quite even: 10.5 hours for men and just over 9 hours for women. Search engines, portals and online communities were the most popular category in the United States. The top category that could be construed as favoring one gender -- computers and consumer electronics -- ranked sixth among U.S. categories, attracting 24 percent of the active audience. Family and lifestyle Web sites, which would be expected to bring in female surfers, was the eighth most popular category, attracting 17 percent of the active audience. "Internet usage in the U.S. has reached parity," Goosey said. "Men and women are mirroring each other's online activity and even visiting the same types of sites."
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