We just received the comScore statistics for September 2011. The overall global picture presents a really positive view for Wikimedia’s sites. We grew to 454 million unique visitors and our year-on-year growth rate of 14.2% was faster than the average growth of global Internet users of 9.7%. Good news!
What I found most noteworthy is that our growth is being driven by very strong increases in Asia, Latin America and the Middle East & Africa regions. This is only partially driven by the fact that these areas are where the Internet is growing. In fact, our growth there is much stronger than that of the overall Internet. This speaks well of the incredible value of our projects around the world.
When we look a bit closer, we see that we are still playing catch-up in Asia-Pacific and in the Middle East & Africa. Our share of unique Internet users in those geographies is lower than in the rest of the world. In China, we are far behind as a result of the limitations placed on our projects, which gave alternative projects an opportunity to develop their sites. But the rapid growth of our projects in China is a sign that we are alive and kicking there, despite the challenges.
This provides lots of scope for growth, but will also challenge us as we’ll need to deepen the knowledge available in the major languages and topics of interest for these regions. The graph below shows our current article counts for languages spoken by more than 200M, ordered by number of speakers (English at 3.7 million articles for 1.3 billion speakers is excluded to manage the y-axis). Article count is not an ideal measure, as it doesn’t speak to quality. However, the story the picture tells is that we are still closer to the beginning than to the end of our quest to freely share the sum of all knowledge with every single human being.
Barry Newstead, Chief Global Development Officer