China Has ‘Abysmal’ Internet Speed Performance; How Does Taiwan Measure Up?

China Has ‘Abysmal’ Internet Speed Performance; How Does Taiwan Measure Up?
Photo Credit: Reuters/達志影像
What you need to know

Although there is room for improvement, Taiwan fares rather well in adoption rates, as well as average and peak Internet speeds.

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A report by China Daily released this week shows that China ranks 91st globally on Internet speed, a performance which the New York Times described as “abysmal.” The poor performance—a puny average of 9.46 Mbps—can be attributed to China being a latecomer to the information highway, the vast territory to be covered, and to state controls of the Internet that have a slowdown effect on accessing material outside the “Great Firewall.” No doubt as the world's second-largest economy continues to modernize, China will ameliorate its overall Internet performance.

How does Taiwan, which faces no such constraints, measure up against its giant neighbor and other developed countries in the region?

According to the Cambridge, Massachusetts Content Delivery Network service provider Akamai’s latest State of the Internet report (Q4 2015), a lot better. In terms of average connection speed, Taiwan ranks 21st worldwide and 4th in the Asia-Pacific at 12.9 Mbps behind South Korea (26.7), Japan (17.4), Hong Kong (16.8) and Singapore (13.9).

When looking at average peak connection speed, Taiwan ranks 8th worldwide and 6th in APAC at 78.8 Mbps, about eight times faster than in China. Singapore tops the list at 135.7 Mbps, followed by Hong Kong (105.2), South Korea (95.3), Japan (82.9) and Indonesia (79.8).

Taiwan ranks 22nd globally and 6th in APAC for 4 Mbps broadband adoption at 90%, 24th globally and 5th in APAC for 10 Mbps broadband adoption at 45%. For its ranking, Akamai uses IP addresses connecting to it at average connection speeds above the stated Mbps threshold. For 15 Mbps adoption during that quarter, Taiwan placed 24th worldwide and 5th in APAC at 24%. It also saw an 89% improvement in quarter-to-quarter adoption and 46% year-on-year. During the same quarter, China saw a drop of 8.4%.

Meanwhile, Taiwan more than doubled its adoption rate for 25 Mbps with a quarterly gain of 106% to 9.4%, or 2.3% above the global average. South Korea ranks 1st at 37%, with Lithuania closing the top 10 at 14%.

As to average and peak connection speeds for mobile connections, Taiwan was in the middle of the pack with 6.5 Mbps and 46.8 Mbps, with 81% above 4 Mbps. Australia had the fastest peak performance at 153.3 Mbps. China stood at 4.7 Mbps and 49.9 Mbps respectively. Akamai noted a “mobile penalty”—the ratio of average load time on broadband versus mobile connections—of 1.9x for Taiwan, though as it notes, the ratio is contingent on the nature of the content being requested.