Yahoo.com, Netvigator.com and Hongkong.com are the most visited web sites in Hong Kong, according to research company Interactive Audience Measurement Asia (iamasia).

The results measure the number of unique users, or separate individuals, that visited each site in July this year and also look at each site's reach. The reach of a site represents the number of unique users as a percentage of the total number of home internet users in July.

Yahoo, the US-based search engine, had 884,000 unique users and a reach of 53.5% in the month. Netvigator, a Hong Kong internet service provider, had 672,000 unique users and 40.7% reach, while Hongkong.com, a site providing news and information about Hong Kong had 627,000 unique users and 37.9% reach.

The rankings are the first to measure internet usage on the basis of unique users in addition to page views. Page views are typically measured by companies based on the number of "hits" registered on its computer server. iamasia, a Hong Kong-based company formed last year, bases its research on telephone surveys and user panels that measure total internet usage, page views, unique users, demographics and purchasing behavior.

"This is the first time that detailed and accurate internet-usage data has been available in Greater China," says Kevin Tan, iamasia's chief executive officer.  The company plans to shortly release data on the top websites in mainland China and Taiwan.

Other companies that ranked high on iamasia's list include Geocities.com, a Yahoo-run site that helps individuals set up their own web sites, and Microsoft.com, which ranked fifth. Geocities had 609,000 unique users and a 36.8% reach, while Microsoft.com had 552,000 users and a 33.4% reach.

The figures include all traffic from pseudonyms, which are domain names that refer to the same content page on the web. Usage for Yahoo.com, for example, includes all traffic to content pages whose web address ends in the web domain Yahoo.com. By comparison msn.com.tw and msn.com are measured separately because their traffic ends in separate domains.

Below is a list of iamasia's top 20 web sites for home users in Hong Kong in July 2000.

 1 yahoo.com 53.5% 884,000
 2 netvigator.com 40.7% 672,000
 3 hongkong.com 37.9% 627,000
 4geocities.com  36.8% 609,000
 5 microsoft.com 33.4% 552,000
 6 icq.com 31.9% 528,000
 7 passport.com 31.2% 516,000
 8 v3.com 31.0% 513,000
 9 appledaily.com.hk 27.5% 454,000
10 ichannel.com.hk 26.4% 437,000
11 uhome.net 25.3% 419,000
12 xoom.com 25.2% 416,000
13 info.gov.hk 25.0% 413,000
14 msn.com 22.1% 365,000
15 cnet.com 19.3% 319,000
16 sina.com.hk 19.0% 314,000
17 heha.net 18.1% 299,000
18 msn.com.tw 17.8% 294,000
19 tripod.com 16.9% 280,000
20 tvb.com 16.7% 277,000