As the Internet rapidly becomes a global phenomenon — already accessed by about half of the world’s population — it is worth looking at which websites have developed a foothold in certain countries, particularly as more and more people continue to join the truly worldwide wide.
As one can plainly see, American Internet giants — namely Google and Facebook — dominate the global market. Yahoo! has surprisingly managed to maintain a hold in Japan, Taiwan, and (of all places) the African nation of Gabon.
This dominance is due partly to the competitive and technological edge of U.S. tech companies, and also because of the prevalence of the English language (particularly among the well off and educated people more likely to have Internet access; hence why one does not see a lot of Hindi or Swahili on the Web).
There are some very visible exceptions to this trend. Russia and China are among the few countries where local online companies dominate; Yandex and Baidu are the Russian and Chinese equivalent to Google, respectively. Both countries have particularly savvy tech cultures, and their unique and difficult languages gives local entrepreneurs an edge in developing more accommodating web services.
Russia’s ability to stave off American competition is especially noteworthy, given that unlike China, it has not had to restrict or ban foreign competition (e.g., Russians still opt for their own domestic services given the options for others). Russian companies have even managed to expand abroad, albeit in areas with large Russian-speaking populations (namely neighboring Kazakhstan, where Russian email and web services company Mail.Ru dominates).
Some of the “unknowns” on the map reflect local giants limited to their respective countries, such as Seznam.cz in the Czech Republic and Naver in South Korea (each of which tellingly serve as Google equivelants).