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Korea leads e-shopping in Asia

Korea's Internet rankings move up in position to take the world's second largest online shopping base, according to a new study.

Korea has lifted its ranking on the Internet as the world's second largest online shopping base, according to a new study.

According to research firm Taylor Nelson Sofres, 31 percent of Web surfers in Korea bought goods and services online during the first quarter of 2002. The United States led the pack with 32 percent.

The findings were derived from a survey of more than 42,000 Internet users in 37 countries, Taylor Nelson Sofres said.

Clothes, furniture, toiletries and cosmetics were popular among Korea's 24 million-odd Web users, the report said.

In the United States, Internet subscribers listed books and clothing as the most common items purchased online.

Singapore was ranked No. 1 globally for online theater and movie tickets purchases. One-third of the 1.9 million Internet users on the island-state bought tickets over the Web during the first quarter of 2002, the research firm said.

Anne Dupuy, Taylor Nelson Sofres' associate director, attributed this trend to the efficiency of the online payment infrastructure and the relatively inexpensive delivery charges in Singapore. For example, online buyers can get tickets delivered to their homes for as low as 56 cents. In addition to using their credit cards, cinemagoers are also able to debit their purchases directly from their online banking accounts.

The Internet also proved a popular medium for theater and movie tickets in Hong Kong, while in Taiwan, books had the highest frequency of online sales, the report said.

CNETAsia's Irene Tham reported from Singapore.