We always talk about the Internet a lot, and people always come to me and say, "Jerry, what is the big deal about the Internet?" And I always try to tell them with some numbers and statistics of what is happening on the Internet. At the end of 1997, there are about 70 million users on the Internet on the worldwide bases, and by the end of this year it will be over 100 million. And this is from a very rapid growth in 1995. There was less than 30 million people on the Internet, and you can see that in the net last three years it has grown very, very fast and very, very rapidly. The Internet is very interesting because it is a platform for information, for business, for commerce and for content. And this is a very interactive medium. It is the only interactive medium that allows you to do all these things. We have really seen a tremendous growth within the United States on the Internet media. And what we are going to see in the future is that the growth outside of the U.S. is going to be much more rapid, much faster, especially in countries like China, in Asia and in Europe. I have to say how important it is to have an interactive medium because the ability for users like yourself to interact with the Internet to have a dialogue, to experience, is what makes the Internet very, very unique. There is really no other way that can allow you to experience content, commerce and do business like Internet. And this is why I would think that it is very, very important for not only businesses, but also users to get on to Internet and start using it as a way of getting their information and making their life easier.
<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />
A lot of people called Yahoo a search engine, and I always have to sort of say that we are more than a search engine. In fact what we have become is a very powerful brand. Over 30 million users on the every month use Yahoo in the United States. We have tremendous amount of recognition and trust. One of the key things that we have established is every time somebody uses Yahoo we call that a page view. Every month we do over two billion page views and that is becoming quite a way of life for a lot of people on Internet. We really appeal to the individual users. We have a lot of people that use Yahoo when they are at work, and we have a lot of people that use Yahoo when they get home at night. And what we are doing is also expanding very rapidly around the world. We have numerous Yahoo versions in Europe, in Asia, in Australia, and we are always expanding, hoping to do more. The key for Yahoo, as many of you know, is a directory structure and its navigational guide. We have over 900,000 Web sites in the US underneath of a few hundreds, thousand categories, and we have over 300 content relationships that we have with major media companies, content companies. And we are always to build, provide users, and consumers, some business solutions to help them find things on their net, to help them shop for something on the Internet, and help them to find information or even other people that they want to contact and communicate with.
A lot of people ask me, "how do you make money?" "What is the business behind Yahoo?" And what are the things we tried to do is have a very partnership-oriented approach. So we have a lot of partners, and our business model is based on the advertising business model. When you use Yahoo you will see a lot of banner advertising that is on top of the pages, and those are paid advertising that we receive for people to display their messages to our users. So this is, I feel, very similar to broadcasting and other kind of media where the user can use the service for free. Many of you know Yahoo is a free product, but we get money from the advertisers who want to reach our users.
Let me talk a little about the history because I am one of the founders along with my partner David. We were both graduate students at Stanford University in 1994 in California, and instead of working on our thesis, we were playing around on the Internet. And one night my partner David started to put together a database of Web sites, maybe in the first time we did this around 200 Web sites. We put it on the Web, on the World Wide Web, and people started to use it. And in the year 1994 we saw from now usage to almost one million users a day coming to Yahoo everyday. Many people ask me how we come up with the name Yahoo. Well, Yahoo, if you look in a dictionary, it means a very rude and uncivilized people from Gulliver's Travels. And so we, my partner and I, said we are a kind of yahoos because we are both very uncivilized. And so we take the name, and says it is easy to remember. And that is how we got the name. We decided to turn into business in 1995, almost one year after we started as a hobby at Stanford. We got some virtual capital, money, and started to get some management, people, senior managers, to help us, and we work very hard at getting advertising revenues, and in one year we were able to build a real business. Several important things happened to us in 1996, historically, because we went public in the Nastaq market in the United States. And we were, became a profitable company in later of that year. And those are very important things for me but also for the industry, because a lot of people didn't believe that (with) Internet you can make money. And we showed that by having a strong brand, a good set of users, a good product, we can be a profitable company.
Here are some more statistics about the Yahoo business. In 1997, last year, we did, in US dollars, about 67 million US dollars. We were able to achieve something that a lot of people cannot do yet on the Internet which is, have a very viable business model. Now we have about 450 other Yahoos around the world where headquartered in Silicon Valley in Santa Clara. And we really believe that our business, the Internet business is a global business, and so we have not only 8 offices in the US, but also have offices in 10 countries around the world.
I want to spend a few minutes and talk about Internet advertising because it is one of those things that people don't often understand -- why it works and how it works. When you build a Web site, when businesses build a Web site, they often have to find a way to get people to know about their Web site. And advertising on the Internet is the best way for people to know about what Web site is where. We have to keep ability of tracking how many people saw the Web site, how many people saw the advertising, and become a very targeted and accountable medium. We can target it based on different geographies, we can target base on different kinds of people. And it is a very, very large market. Many people don't realize, but in the US alone, almost 200 billion dollars a year were spent on advertising. So even if you think about an Internet advertising, so even if it is one percent of overall advertising market, it is a multi-billion-dollar market.
Let me talk a little about that Web advertising market and update on 'Net. In 1997, em, in 1996, the number of dollars spent on the Web was around 270 million US dollars. That is the amount of money that the Web advertisers spent. Last year that number was around 700 million dollars. In 1998, this year, over one billion dollars will be spent on the Web advertising alone. And this is primarily driven out the United States and Western Europe, and some parts of Asia. And we really believe that the growth will continue to double at a very, very rapid rate. In fact, one of the key things I shared with you earlier was that, Yahoo can reach tens of millions of people over the course of a month. And this is becoming as popular a medium as television, newspapers, and magazines. So that we are now competitive in many ways with traditional media advertisement. To give you an example, in last quarter, in the last part of last year, we had over 1,700 advertisers. Over 70 percent of them are consumer brand advertisers, and so not everybody who advertise on the Internet are technology companies, but they could be names you are very familiar with, like Coca Cola, or telephone companies or car companies.
One of the biggest things that happened in 1997 for me was that Electronic Commerce, Internet Commerce, became a possibility. A number of companies in United States became aware and became possible to start doing commerce and transactions, such as shopping, over the Internet. I, for example, myself, did a lot of my Christmas shopping on the Internet because I don't like to go buy things at stores. So I order some pants, one of them I am wearing now, over the Internet. And it was great because I know exactly what size I want it and it showed up online home. The opportunity for Web Commerce is very, very large. In 1997, last year, about 3 billion dollars of merchandise were sold through the Internet in the United States. By the year 2000, that number is going to be over 100 billion dollars. And you can see year by year there is going to be a tremendous amount of transactions that going to happen over the Internet. The Web is very interesting because it allows users themselves to be active. They are the persons that are in charge. And consumers, people who are doing the Web surfing, have a lot of options, and they have the choice. So a lot of people are recognizing that the customers now can have a very important say in what to buy, how to buy it and where to buy it. And as a result many industries in United States are undergoing some very rapid change, because of the buying power on the Web. At least there are some examples here. For example, stocks. People not only look at stock information, but also trade, and buy, and sell stocks electronically through the Web. In fact, there are many very successful companies that are now emerge (emerging) in the United States that all it do (does) is (to) sell stocks over the Web. We work with a partner called Etrade that does exactly that. In the United States now, it is tax season. And for the first time, you can file some of your taxes over the Web. And this is a very convenient way for people to gather information, to understand the laws that have changed about taxes, and now be able to process and sermon your tax forms online. Other applications that are very, very important, are travel, where you can buy airline tickets, book hotels, book rental cars through travel sites; buy books, Amazon.com is a very famous bookstore now on the Web; you can buy computers and software and hardware and accessories through Web -- people, for example, like Dell Computers and Gateway 2000, have created the tremendous opportunity to go directly to the consumers; you can buy music CDs, videos, almost anything you can imagine that you can buy through retail now you are beginning to buy on the Web. I believe that in the United States you will see even more industries change because the way that the Web is so popular and people have ability to conduct commerce at their own pace. They can talk to whoever they want to talk to, (find out,) do some research and then conduct the transaction based on their own behavior rather than having to go to somebody else to buy the merchandise.
So I want to show you this chart because it talks about Yahoo's strategy and where we want to be as a company. We have a lot of content on the Web. Millions of Web sites that are on the top; and on the bottom we have tens of millions, hundreds of millions of users; and in the middle is where Yahoo is focusing our efforts. We develop the technology; we develop the advertise; we develop the business model to help build merchant-consumer commerce services like the ones I talked about taxes, stocks, computing goods. We talk of contents, news, sports. We talk about the directory, that I talked about the aggregation which I call, we call super aggregation and core aggregation. And on the two sides we have two very important elements. The personalization element, which is how do we make the Web, how do we, how do Yahoo help you make the Web more personal. Everybody should have a very unique experience with the Web. You don't have to have the same experience because it is interactive. And we are trying very hard to bring a personalized component to the Web experience. And the other side we have communication. And the key to allow the Web success is the fact not only can you get content from publishers or information sources, you can also communicate through email, through chatting and through messaging that is now become a very big part Web usage in the United States. And we believe by doing these parts well, by helping people find the content need, find the products and services they need, and finding other people that they need to find, we can become a new kind of company that ties together people on the Web.
These are some of the things we offer today on Yahoo site in the United States, and I thought it is useful to list them because a lot of people don't realize all these things are available on Yahoo. A lot of people still think of these at many ways as a navigational guide. I have already mentioned Yahoo Finance. Yahoo Finance is our stock-put and stock-lookup service. Everyday we have over 5 million people that look at us for stock information, news about companies, etc. Score Bodies are sports site where we have real time sports information, so during a ball game, people can look at information on the Web. And of course news, which is one of the most popular, news services on the Web. Nowadays I will give you the example when big news items happen. So many of you know last year Princess Dianna's tragedy. The Web was the first place that had real information about the incident, even before television did. And we believe in many ways, the way people use the Web to find news is going to change the way people get news. We also have a lot of local information in the United States --classifies which is a way of buying and selling things, small things, for yourselves; yellow pages which is way to find businesses; maps where you can actually get driving directions or find out where the place is. These services are all available on the Web through Yahoo. We talked about international. We have ten countries. I didn't have time to list them all here, but, France, Germany, Yahoo UK, Yahoo Japan, Yahoo Canada, Yahoo Asia in Singapore, Yahoo Australia, and numerous others. We also have designed some Yahoo services around demographics. So for example, Yahooligan is our service for kids, and we have also a version for Yahoo seniors for people who are over the age of 65. My Yahoo is a personalized service. We have some happened event, guide. We will tell you what is everything going on on the Web. And on the last bullet I talk about the communication services that we offer. Yahoo Mail, Yahoo Pager, which sends messages to each other, and Yahoo message board where you can post and read what other people say about certain topics.
Because we are, because I am in China and because I am in Asia, I want to talk a little about the global aspect of Yahoo. And I want to talk about Yahoo Japan as a kind of case that you want me to show with you. A lot of people tell me, you know, that the problem with the Internet, the biggest problem of the Internet is language and culture. You know, my locution is still so much dominated by English and dominated by American language and American culture. I agree with that. One of the first things we did as a company was to establish a joint venture in Japan. We did this in April 1996, while even Yahoo is very, very young. We started in Japan because it is a very interesting market. At that time it was already becoming a very big Internet user base, and also the language is obviously very different. We had to build the site from Japanese. Almost from the date we launched we became the most popular Web site in Japan. Now we are one of the most dominant Web-based businesses in Japan. In fact we took the company public on the Japan's stock exchange in last November. And we also help develop the Internet advertising business in Japan. And I honestly believe that by focusing on building around the culture and building around the language of the audience, we can duplicate the Yahoo model no matter where we go. And in fact we have done that as well in Europe and Canada, Singapore, etc.
One of the key things that makes me very excited about the China market is because that I believe the Chinese Web market is going to have a very, very huge potential in the future. Part of my trip, here is to learn more about China market, and learn about the Internet developments in China. And I have learned a tremendous amount. And I have increasing hope that there are so many things that the Chinese Web can do that is unique to China as a market, and to China as a language, and China as a culture. What is happening today, as many of you know, is the number of Internet users in China is increasing at such a rapid rate. Almost every month I hear the number is getting larger and larger. Just recently we understand that there is officially over 600,000 subscribers on the Internet in China, and unofficially that number may be even higher. We believe that there are significant efforts that are beginning to develop so that good content is being developed. And we think that the potential for developing advertising-based, commerce-based, free service is very, very large.
I want to talk a little bit about as the local market, as a China market, what are the keys to grow this market going forward. The first thing that we look at, I try to understand, is how many personal computers will be sold that can allow people to get on the Internet. And in China that number is growing at a very, very rapid rate. I understand that by 1998 over 5 million PCs will be sold in China and all of them can get on the Internet. The using that I think is key to growing a business which we have seen in every market that we have been in is being able to provide cheap, affordable access to the Internet for consumers. And not only the services should be cheap and affordable but also they need to be reliable and fast. And to do that a lot of times these access businesses need to be somehow driven by profitability, and somehow being able to be a real business demo online. And I think China as a whole is going through that investment stage where a lot of money needs to be invested in building all the infrastructure and attracting subscribers to get on the Internet. The third thing we see as a key to growth in any market is the ability to have software tools that help you put information on the Web, design information on the Web and change information on the Web. And those software tools are what people (that) have built in the United States that drove very, very rapid growth. In the United States for content and commerce, and I hope in China as well there will be significant efforts to build out a set of tools, a set of software, a set of technology, that help you build content commerce applications for the Web. The fourth thing that is very important for a viable Web medium model is the creative community, so people who can help you design Web sites and can help you design concepts and help you understand how to use these Web sites, to help your marketing, to help your users, to (help you) give you better experience. And these people are very much needed in order to develop compiling, competitive quality, content experience. And lastly which is probably the most important thing is that businesses, governments, education, people in the community, people in the society, have to feel like the Web is a key part of how to grow as a country, as an economy, and to be competitive. I will give you an example in the United States. The government in the early 1990s decided that they need an interactive infrastructure to grow the economy in the country, and they had invested in all kinds of different things and, you know, vice president Al Gore calls it a National Information Infrastructure - NII. And the Internet in many ways became that National Information Infrastructure for the United States. And I believe not only the government had intense interest in building out Internet as a way as communications, that education sector, the colleges, the public schools, the most importantly the business community. It is very hard to find a company now in the United States that doesn't have a wide presence or even doing some business on the Web. And without businesses endorsing, the Web as a way of doing businesses is tough to have a viable industry.
I think when I end the talking about the future a little bit. One of the key challenges as we see is being able to continue to monitor how the telecommunications industry is being opened up and deregulated for competition. Still in many parts of the world outside United States, the cost for telephone lines and for telephone access to the Internet is still very, very expensive. And most of it is still based on usage. So if you use so many hours you have to pay for so much. And in the US the move has been made to a flat pricing where the pricing is based on unlimited usage. We think that in order for the Web to develop more mature and faster, the telecommunication companies around the world need to have more competition and have lower rates in order to make it affordable and also make it accessible for users. The Web is still a very much (a) young medium, it has only been around for a couple of years. There are a lot of issues with security, and reliability, and being able to protect sensitive data, being able to provide a safe environment. It is very, very important. The top two issues right now in America for Web usage is how to protect children, how to make it a safe place for people to use the Web, and also how to protect the privacy of users. And those two things, I think, are very large problems that are being addressed. And I think in anywhere that the Web goes, anywhere that the Web industry wants to go, we need to help address the security issues, and help address the content issues, and make it a safer and safer place. One of the things that I think is very interesting in the future is that the way you can access the Internet is going to be very different from different places, and what I call multiple ways of accessing the Internet. Today primarily the access to the Internet is done through telephone lines, released lines. But I think in the future there are tremendous technologies that can enable people to access the Internet through wireless ways, through satellites, through cable, and of course, through different pass phones on telephone lines. And to me to build have, the Internet access in its many different ways as possible as very, very important because sooner rather than later, people are going to feel like the Internet is not some special places they have to go to. It is going to be something you use almost as frequently and without thinking as the telephone. And people don't think about going to the telephone like they think about going to the Internet today. Eventually the Internet has to become more ubiquitous and to do that it needs to be a better way, a better access method, for. Another big issue for the future is the bandwidth issue. And too often I hear people complaining that it is too slow on the Internet. It takes too long to download anything. And yes, those are major issues. And I know there are huge initiatives around the world that will increase bandwidth, that will allow people to design things that you can interact very fast. And I hope that the bandwidth keeps getting better, because the more bandwidth there is , the more ways in which people can develop the tools.
Lastly I want to talk about the migration of primarily information medium into a kind of commerce medium, a community medium. You know a lot of people think about the Internet in the future. And one of the things I think needs to happen is, maybe it is not only a computer-oriented tool, maybe it is not too far of the future, that you can access the Internet on your TV, on your watch, maybe on your microwave oven. Somewhere and everywhere you can somehow get into the Internet. And in that point it really isn't about what content you have on the Internet. It is really about how you can communicate with other people effectively and how can you do business effectively. And in order for the Internet survive around the world and in China, it needs to be not only a content medium, but also needs to be a business medium. People need to build to have value that are improved, their lives made better because of the Internet.