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The adoption of the Internet in Japan and the United States was examined in order to understand potential underlying factors influencing the diffusion process and to provide insight into the growth of the medium internationally. The United States and Japan are individualized and economically stable countries that are both leading the world with the greatest number of Internet users. Therefore, it would seem somewhat logical to assume that the diffusion of the Internet might be similar between the two countries. However, data on the penetration rates of the Internet in these two countries reveal a different story. Cultural variables are used to explore the differences found, and it is suggested that these factors may affect the degree to which the Internet is adopted across a variety of countries. Implications for advertisers include: (1) gaining insight into the internet adoption behaviour of other countries worldwide, (2) understanding how similar future innovations may be adopted across countries, and (3) making marketing-mix strategies more effective by accommodating for cultural influences during the adoption process.
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