#Asia We see what you’re doing there: Indonesia has the most VPN users of 34 countries


The Global Web Index cited ‘overcoming governmental restrictions’ as the main reason why Chinese, Indonesians and Thai people are so into using VPNs

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London-based market research firm Global Web Index (GWI) released an infographic on the countries with the highest number of VPNs users globally.

To no surprise, Southeast Asian countries such as Thailand (39 per cent) and Vietnam (35 per cent) came out with top marks, but it was Indonesia gracing the number one spot with a 41 per cent VPN user rate — the highest of all 34 countries surveyed.

“People consider VPNs to be a niche tool, but they are surprisingly widespread … As many as one in four people use them,” GWI’s Head of Trends Jason Mander told Wired UK.

There are 10 reasons why people are using VPNs.

  1. To access entertainment content from iTunes, Netflix, YouTube, etc.
  2. To access networks and sites restricted in certain countries
  3. To retain anonymity while browsing
  4. To communicate with friends and families abroad
  5. To access news sites restricted in certain countries
  6. To access restricted sites while at work
  7. To access restricted download sites such as The Pirate Bay
  8. To hide web browsing from the government
  9. To access a Tor browser to view restricted content
  10. Other

Also Read: Should Netflix crack down on VPNs and proxies?

“In some countries, China, Indonesia and Thailand being prime examples, people use VPNs to overcome governmental restrictions on sites like Facebook and Twitter. In Western Europe, privacy is the biggest factor. But by far the most popular one globally is the need to access [geographically blocked] entertainment content,” Mander further explained.

It is understood especially in Indonesia, with state-owned telco operator Telkom recently blocking access to Netflix, there seems to be a stronger demand to entertainment sites. Netflix is not the only site that is restricted in the country, as its Ministry of Communications and Informatics had also banned Vimeo, pornographic sites, and Fanfiction.net, among the few.

Looking at its Southeast Asian neighbours, it is obvious that accessing entertainment and news sites are the predominant reason why people are using VPNs. The case is also the same with China and Hong Kong.

Also Read: Behind the scenes: Here’s why your VPN is down in China


The case is a bit different with Singapore, where a considerable amount of VPNs users use it to retain anonymity while browsing. A great percentage of Singaporeans also use VPNs to download restricted download sites such as The Pirate Bay.

Accessing Tor browser to view restricted content does not seem to be popular in most Southeast Asian countries such as Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam, among the few.

Japan is an anomaly compared to other Asian countries, as the majority of VPNs users are using it for ‘Other’ reason. The user number is also low at only six per cent. The country’s behaviour is more similar to European countries such as France, Belgium, or Russia.

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