Just a few years ago, almost everything found on
the Web was in the English language. But that's all changing, and
according to a new Aberdeen Group report, most multi-national
business-to-business (B2B) companies will localize their online
content in an effort to entice a more global audience.
The report, called "Web Globalization: Write Once, Deploy
Worldwide," profiles 18 Web globalization suppliers, and concludes
that 80 percent of multi-national B2B firms will "globalize" their Web
sites by 2004 in order to "enter or optimize business in global
With the English language's "rapid decline as the dominant language
on the Web," says the report, companies are leveraging technologies,
professional services, and best practices to "efficiently deliver
localized, customized, corporate messages and content to customers
across the globe."
But will the great promise of the Internet - a new global market for
small countries' economies - actually come to fruition?
Tom Dwyer, Aberdeen's Web globalization research director, said
in a press release that the globalization trend will certainly level the
playing field. "Web globalization will remove geography from the
competitive equation," the statement reads. "It enables Web buyers
to select products and services based on the relevance, appeal, and
comfort level of a supplier's Web site, whether it's the local Wal-Mart
or the Carrefour on another continent."
And as the rest of the world gets increased access to the Internet,
purely English-speaking users will decline even further.
In the press release, Dwyer said, "New Web users in Latin
America, the Middle East, and Asia/Pacific are putting U.S.-based,
English-speaking Web users in the minority. U.S.-based
businesses can capitalize on these new markets with Web
globalization tools. Many European companies already have
multilingual, multicultural Web sites. The challenge for them is to
replace old, labor-intensive localization processes with efficient,
The Aberdeen Group report says that, at the end of 2000, fewer
than 35 percent of all Web users were U.S. citizens and only 48
percent of total users were English-speaking.
Such sentiments seem to be indirectly verified from a number
of other sources. While another study released today puts the
U.S. in first place in the global e-commerce stakes, it said that
Australia, the U.K. and Canada were not far behind.
The report, from the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) and its
Pyramid Research communications arm, showed Nordic
countries in four of the next five spots, with sophisticated
telecopy systems and technically savvy populations putting
Norway, Sweden, Finland and Denmark in the top echelon.
While Singapore scored higher than much of Western Europe,
the rankings apparently show that the world's best e-business
players are not necessarily the largest or richest economies,
according to the researchers.
And yet another report released in May says that, while online
B2B trade has major potential in the years ahead, by 2005,
the online market will account for about one-third of all B2B
sales in Europe.
But the Forrester Research report, entitled "ROI Of Europe's
eCommerce Sites," found that labor costs will consume more
than 50 percent of online B2B companies' budgets. Another
financial downside according to Forrester is that, for a typical
Europe top 100 firm to tap into trade opportunities, they will
have to invest more than 11 million euros ($9.72 million) to
get the service rolling.
--Reported by Newsbytes.com, http://www.newsbytes.com .