North Myrtle Beach joins New York, NY, Princeton, NJ, Austin, TX and 47 other communities recognized as having the strongest online presence in their state.

This week Google announced that North Myrtle Beach has been named the 2013 eCity of South Carolina. The eCity Awards recognize the strongest online business community in each state - the digital capitals of America. These cities’ businesses are embracing the web to find new customers, connect with existing clients and fuel their local economies.

North Myrtle Beach has had a digital leg up since 2008 when Verizon finished a complete build out of fiber optics to all businesses and residents east of the Intracoastal Waterway.

“Our ‘e-City Awards’ recognize the new ‘digital capitals’ of America,” said Scott Levitan, Google’s director of small-business engagement. “We’re proud to recognize this growing entrepreneurial-spirit—and the role that it plays in both creating jobs and sustaining local economies. With 97-percent of Internet-users looking for products and services online, it’s clear that success is about being connected.”

“North Myrtle Beach businesses do not rest on their laurels or past gains,” said Mayor Marilyn Hatley. “When our many diverse businesses discover new ways to communicate with new and existing customer bases, they do not give it lip service. They proactively embrace it and employ it to the fullest.”

Representative Tom Rice represents North Myrtle Beach in Congress and said he’s proud that Google is honoring its businesses. “Small businesses are the lifeblood of our nation’s economy and for more than 17 years they have generated 65 percent of net new jobs,” said Congressman Rice.   “Our district’s small businesses have utilized new technology to make them more competitive locally and nationally.  As a member of the House of Representatives Committee on Small Business, I will continue to advocate for our small businesses so they can afford to expand and hire more hardworking South Carolinians.”

Google worked with an independent research firm IPSOS to analyze the online strength of local small businesses in cities in all fifty states and North Myrtle Beach  is among the ranks of America’s leading cities in the digital economy.

Google research shows that over the next three years, businesses that make use of the web are expected to grow 40% faster and are twice as likely to create jobs. With small businesses creating two-thirds of all new jobs, the potential impact of getting these businesses online is enormous. Google hopes that these “digital capitals” will become an inspiration to other areas—throughout the nation—of what can be accomplished by spearheading business development on the Web.

In South Carolina, Google research concluded in 2012 that 97% of South Carolina internet users look on line for products and services and 96% of smartphone users research a product or service before they purchase.  The same study concluded that Google helped provide $619 million in economic activity in South Carolina with 20,000 business and non-profits using their advertising program called AdSense.  Google also highlighted that they gave grants that year of $352,000 in free advertising for South Carolina non-profits.