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10/18/2007
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Web 2.0 Summit: U.S. Becoming Less Relevant In Global, Internet Economy

The U.S. share of the global gross domestic product has declined steadily since 1999 to 19% today from 22%, according to Morgan Stanley research.

The United States is losing its clout in the global economy and the Internet as other countries develop faster growing markets, a financial analyst said Thursday at the Web 2.0 Summit.

In a speech on technology trends, Mary Meeker, managing director of Morgan Stanley's global technology research team, said the U.S. has become less relevant over the years to the global economy.

The U.S. share of the global gross domestic product has declined steadily since 1999 to 19% today from 22%. While this has been good news for other countries, it hasn't been a favorable trend for the U.S.

"The good news for the global economy is we're less relevant, the bad news is we're less relevant," Meeker said.

Going forward within the U.S., the country's current woes related to the subprime mortgage market "should not be underestimated" and it could have a serious impact on the U.S. GDP.

In terms of the Internet -- especially in technologies key to Web 2.0 success -- the fastest growth is in non-U.S. markets. For example, Germany leads the e-commerce market, China leads in online gaming, South Korea leads in broadband, Japan leads in mobile payments, the United Kingdom leads in online advertising, Brazil and South Korea lead in social networking, and the Philippines leads in micro-transactions via SMS.

America is not totally out of the picture. Online advertising is growing at a healthy clip in the U.S., growing 26% this year to 10% of the total ad market, or $21 billion, Meeker said. The total U.S. advertising market this year is expected to grow by 4%. By 2012, online advertising is expected to make up 17% of the total ad spend in the U.S.

As to the growing importance of new Internet companies, Meeker pointed to the number of social networks and other Web 2.0 properties that weren't in the top 10 rankings in terms of traffic in 2005, but are this year. Those companies include YouTube, No. 4; Live.com, No. 5; Facebook.com, No. 7; Orkut.com, No. 8; Wikipedia.org, No. 9; and Hi5.com, No. 10, according to Alexa Global Traffic Rankings.

Meeker's presentation is available online.

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