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S. Korea tops smartphone penetration rate in 2012

South Korea had the highest level of martphone ownership in the world last year, backed by rising demand for the device and faster Internet networks, data showed on Tuesday.

According to data compiled by Strategy Analytics, 67.6 of mobile consumers in the country had smartphones last year, the highest rate in the world. The global average was 14.8 percent.

In 2011, South Korea ranked fourth with 38.3 percent smartphone ownership, a sharp rise from 14 percent and 2 percent, respectively, in 2010 and 2009, the data showed.

Strategy Analytics forecast that South Korea's smartphone penetration rate would reach 79.5 percent this year, topping Singapore's expected rate of 66.5 percent and Hong Kong's 63.6 percent.

In 2017, South Korea's smartphone ownership is expected to reach 88.9 percent, it forecast.

Singapore had a 54.9 percent penetration rate last year, and the comparable figures for Singapore, Sweden and Denmark were 53.1 percent, 46.9 percent and 43.4 percent, the data showed.

The U.S. had a 39.8 percent smartphone penetration rate last year.(Yonhap News)