According to Internet World Stats, for instance, between 2000 and 2005, Internet usage in Asia grew 183 percent. In Latin America and the Caribbean, that number climbs to 277 percent, and in the Middle East usage rose a stunning 312 percent during those five years.

More telling than usage growth rates, however, is that fact that in each case the percentage of the population online is less than 15 percent.

"There's a window of opportunity around the world for these companies to come in and become the dominant player or cede that position to someone else," said Ken Marlin, managing partner of boutique investment firm Marlin & Associates.

There's a massive amount of money to be made as well. According to a recent report by Citigroup analyst Mark Mahaney, Google's international revenue grew at twice the rate of its domestic revenue -- 149 percent year-over-year versus 75 percent year-over-year for its U.S. unit -- in the second quarter.

For the six months ended June 30, before its deal for Alibaba.com, Yahoo increased international revenue 101 percent to US$372 million. International revenue accounted for 30 percent of Yahoo's bottom line through June 30.

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