According to IE6 Countdown, IE6 usage is down to 11.4%, and they are watching for it to "drop to less than 1% worldwide, so more websites can choose to drop support".

This sounds good in theory, but usage is highly concentrated in one geographic region:

  • China, 34.6%
  • South Korea, 23.5%
  • Taiwan, 9.4%
  • Vietnam, 8.9%
  • Japan, 8.0%
  • Hong Kong SAR, 7.0%

Only a couple of countries in the top 10 are outside of east/southeast Asia. Half the world's IE6 users are in China.

What this means is that even if every other country in the world dropped to absolute 0 usage of IE6, we'd still be well above 5% IE6 usage worldwide. As a programmer, I know to profile for hotspots before spending any time optimizing, so if my goal is to get worldwide usage down, it's a waste of time to spend any effort on the 2.4% of Americans (or even the 3.9% of Argentines) using IE6. I need to go after China, and to a lesser extent South Korea and India.

Are there specific reasons why these countries are using IE6 so much? What specific actions can a developer (or evangelist) do to help get these countries off IE6? Are they on a PC/OS that can't upgrade, or do they not know, or do they not want to, or are they not allowed to? Should we be pushing newer versions of IE, other browsers, other OSs, or mobile? Are these IE6 users home or corporate, and if the latter, is Chrome Frame or Firefox Portable an option? Are there a few specific websites they use, who we could ask to provide a better experience in more modern browsers? Are they using a small local version of a popular website, because the big popular one isn't translated into their language?

I really know nothing about web browsers in China but that seems like I ought to if we want to get IE6 usage numbers down.

closed as off topic by John Conde May 23 '11 at 22:15

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  • I'm not sure this has anything to with webmastering – John Conde May 23 '11 at 22:15
  • John: If not webmastering ("generally covers the operation of websites which you control"), what do you think it covers? I read the FAQ here and it seems to match the "What kind of questions can I ask" and none of the "kind of questions should I not ask". – Ken May 23 '11 at 22:44
  • I hope my confusion is at least somewhat understandable. The #1 related question in the margin here is "Should I try and get my users to upgrade from IE6?", which you yourself answered "Most people using IE nowadays either do not want to upgrade or cannot upgrade...". I confess I don't understand how it is that asking "should I?" and getting an explanation of IE6 upgrade behavior is OK, while "how should I?" with a question about IE6 upgrade behavior limited to a specific geographic region is not. – Ken May 23 '11 at 22:48
  • If I didn't close this for being off topic I would have closed it for being a duplicate of that question anyway. Supporting IE6 has been covered ad nasuem. There isn't really any new ground left to discuss. – John Conde May 23 '11 at 23:19
  • John: I tried very hard to make the entire point of this question about the unique aspects of Chinese web users -- if that's not "new ground" (here or elsewhere), I'd love to see a discussion that even mentions it, because I could not find any! – Ken May 23 '11 at 23:35