This year's AFC Asian Cup in Qatar saw record TV viewing figures.

Japan, China and Korea were the top three viewership markets, with Japan capturing 43.2% of the total AFC Asian Cup 2011 audience, according to CSM Media Research.

Audiences in Japan grew from 131 million during the previous tournament to 209.2 million this year, and in Korea from 29.5 million to 41 million.

Some 63 million viewers watched the semi-final between Japan and Korea, which was the highest rated match of the tournament. Audiences in Japan and Korea made up just over half of the viewers of the match.

In Japan, TV Asahi drew an audience of 24.46 million while KBS2 had just over eight million in Korea.

The tournament in Doha received record 'live' television coverage of nearly 3,600 hours which delivered more than 484 million viewers in 80 countries across the Asia-Pacific region, Europe, North America and North Africa. The event generated a total reach of more than 2.5 billion.

The second most watched AFC Asian Cup 2011 match was the Japan-Australia final with 54.4 million viewers. Japan won a record fourth Asian Cup with a 1-0 victory over Australia.

The quarter final between Japan and Qatar drew an audience of 45.63 million, making it the third highest rated match in terms of TV viewership.

This is the first time that television ratings have been available in the Middle East for the AFC Asian Cup.

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are the fourth and fifth largest viewership markets respectively for the event, accounting for 5.8 percent and 1.1 percent of the total audience.

Tournament hosts Qatar had the fourth highest audience figures in the Middle East after Kuwait.

Despite China’s early exit and the absence of ASEAN nations from the competition impacted overall ratings, the total viewership in China was 156.6 million - 32 percent of the total audience for the event.

Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam had a combined audience of 24 million.

“The AFC Asian Cup 2011 delivered top class football and the significant television viewership achieved reaffirms its position as the top sporting event in Asia,” said Pierre Kakhia, president, West Asia, World Sport Group, the marketing and media partner of the AFC.

“Asian football fans are incredibly passionate about their national teams and we are delighted to have delivered record multiplatform and 'live' coverage for the fans as well as our marketing and broadcast partners across the Asia-Pacific region and most of the world.”

The event also enjoyed significant following on internet and social media platforms.

Nearly seven million fans visited the AFC Asian Cup 2011’s official website, while 2.5 million followed the event on its Facebook page.