China Enjoying Net Boom

Posted on: 29 July 2008 by Gareth Hargreaves

China now has the world’s largest net-using population, according to official figures.

More than 253 million people in the country are now online, say statistics from the China Internet Network Information Centre (CNNIC).

That figure is now higher than the 233 million that the US mustered in June, according to Nielsen Online.

Since December, China’s increase in its online population has been over 43 million – almost the equivalent of everyone in Spain coming online in just six months.

Net penetration in the US stands at 71 per cent compared to 19 per cent in China, suggesting it will eventually vastly outstrip the US.

South Korea is right behind the States with 70 per cent, while 68 per cent of Japan being online also puts their level of internet connection among the highest in the world.

The development is significant because the US has had the largest net-using population since records of how many people were online started to be kept.

“This is the first time the number has drastically surpassed the United States, becoming the world’s number one,” says a statement from the CNNIC, the nation’s official net monitoring body.

The 2008 figure is up 56 per cent in a year, says CNNIC. Analysts expect the total to grow by about 18 per cent per year and hit 490 million by 2012.

About 95 per cent of those going online connect via high-speed links. Take up of broadband has been boosted by deals offered by China's fixed line phone firms as they fight to win customers away from mobile operators.

China's mobile phone using population stands at about 500 million people.

Despite having a greater number of people online, China's net economy still has a long way to go to match or exceed that of the US or even that of South Korea.

Figures from Analysys International say China's net firms reported total revenues of $5.9 billion (£2.96billion) in 2007. By contrast net advertising revenue alone for US firms in 2007 stood at $21.2 billion (£10.6 billion).

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