Wednesday, July 30, 2008

China's online population increases to 253 million, overtakes the US

China's fast-growing population of internet users has surpassed the US to become the world's biggest, with 253 million people online at the end of June according to China Internet Network Information (CNNIC).

China's web usage is growing at explosive rates despite government efforts to block access to sites deemed subversive or pornographic. The financial size of China's online market, though, still trails those of the US, South Korea and other countries.

The latest figure on internet users is a 56% increase from a year ago, the China internet Network Information Center said.

The US had an estimated 223.1 million internet users in June, according to Nielsen Online.

China's internet penetration is still low at just 19.1% in comparison with penetration rates of 71.2% in South Korea and 68.4% in Japan, which rank among the highest in the world. Chinese Internet penetration is marginally lower than developmentally comparable Russia, which stands at 20.8%. Iceland is highest at 85.4%, the U.S. has 71.9%, India only 5.3% leaving a huge room for growth China.

In addition, the number of broadband users in China is over 200 million for the first time, reaching 214 million and .CN domain names, whose number surpasses that of Germany's .DE with 12.188 million, has become the most widely used national top-level domain name.

84.7% of Chinese Internet users are now accessing the Net via broadband. That’s 214 million broadband users, compared with 168 million at the end of 2007 meaning the dialup connectivity is as good as over.

There are now 84.7 million individual computers accessing the Internet from homes, an increase of 6.7 million in the first half of 2008, for a half-year growth of 8.6%. Desktop PCs remain the main form of access, with 87.3% of Netizens accessing by desktops. Notebook computers and mobile devices are increasingly important to, with 30.9% and 28.9% respectively. These are both trending upward while desktop PC access is declining.

Access via mobile phone is still mainly supplemental, and is rarely the main means of access. Of the 73.05 million who reportedly use mobile handsets to access, highest rates are in the 18-24 age group, with 56.1% of mobile Internet users in that age range and 86% are in the 30 or under group. Students make up a huge percentage of those — 39.7%

Users are accessing online mainly from :
  • Home: 59.4%
  • Internet cafĂ©: 19.6%
  • Workplace: 12.5%
  • Campus: 8.1%
  • Other: 0.5%
Demographics :

Male : 53.6%
Female : 46.4%

China’s Internet users are young. Netizens with a high school education represent the most, at 39%. Students make up 30% of all Chinese Internet users, with the next largest group being employees in enterprises, who represent 25.5%. Very low spending power. Only 6.8% of non-student Internet users make over 5000 RMB ((about US $733) per month.

The average Chinese Internet user spent 19 hours a week online in the month of June 2008.

What do users do online ?
  • Internet Music: 84.5% (down from 86.6%)
  • Internet news: 81.5% (up from 73.6%)
  • Instant messaging: 77.2% (down from 81.4%)
  • Internet video: 71.0% (down from 76.9%)
  • Search engines: 69.2% (down from 72.4%)
  • Email: 62.6% (up from 56.5%)
  • Online games: 58.3% (down from 59.3%)
  • Own a blog/personal space: 42.3% (up from 23.5% but at the end of 07 it was “updates”)
  • Visit forums/BBS 38.8% (not on the list in end of 07)
  • Online purchasing: 25% (up from 22.1%)
  • Online banking 23.4% (up from 19.2%)
  • Posting to forums/BBS: 23.4% (not on list at end of 07)
  • Online education: 18.5% (up from 16.6%)
  • Online trading/mutual fund investment: 16.9% (not on last list)
  • Online job search: 14.9% (up from 10.4%)
A special thanks to Kaiser Kuo for having provided a comprehensive summary of the CNNIC report as many of the points above are taken from his site.

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