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The Internet economy: $4.2 trillion by 2016

The Internet economy: $4.2 trillion by 2016

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If it were a national economy, the Internet would be in the world's top five, behind the U.S., China, India and Japan.

The Internet economy will grow more than 10 percent a year through 2016, according to a new report.

If it were a national economy, it would be in the world's top five, behind the U.S., China, India and Japan but ahead of European anchor Germany.

The Boston Consulting Group report, published on Monday, indicated that the Internet will grow more than twice as fast in developing market as the developed markets of the G20 nations: 18 percent annually, versus 8 percent.

Leading the way: Argentina and India, at 24 percent and 23 percent per year, respectively. (In contrast, leading G20 nations Italy and Britain will grow just 12 percent and 11 percent each year.)

All this adds up to a very connected world -- so much so that the Internet economy will contribute $4.2 trillion to the G20's total GDP in 2016.

Some countries benefit more than others. In the U.K. in 2010, the Internet economy contributed the most to national GDP, with South Korea and China close behind. (Interestingly, in the U.S., the federal government contributes as much to national GDP as the Internet economy does: 4.7 percent.)

But the study's authors believe great shifts are ahead. By 2016, the EU and India will move up in the rankings, at the expense of Japan and the U.S., as small and medium businesses embrace Internet presences.

In sum: the world wants its Internet.

“We assessed its value by how much consumers said that they would have to be paid to live without Internet access," co-author Paul Zwillenberg said. "In the G20 [nations], they would need to be paid $1,430 each."

[via Business Journals]

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Andrew Nusca

Editor Emeritus

Andrew Nusca is editor of SmartPlanet and an associate editor for ZDNet. Previously, he worked at Money, Men's Vogue and Popular Mechanics magazines. He holds degrees from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and New York University. He is based in New York but resides in Philadelphia. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure