Despite the global economic IT downturn, internet use is booming with 30pc growth expected in this year.
The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) predicts the number of global internet users will reach one in 10 or 655 million this year, compared to 500 million in 2001.
The annual E-Commerce and Development Report expects internet trade in goods and services could reach €2.27bn this year, a 50pc jump on last year and could hit €3.85bn by the end of 2003. The report, published today is considered a key indicator of the development of e-commerce, which is notoriously difficult to quantify.
About a third of new users were from developing countries in 2001, but the percentage of the population using the internet was still far higher in rich nations, the UNCTAD notes.
E-commerce is doing well across the globe despite the economic stagnation in the US and elsewhere, but the report said business-to-business e-commerce had not been adopted in developing countries.
The US accounts for almost 45pc of e-commerce revenues, while western Europe has about 25pc and Japan about 15pc.
By Lisa Deeney