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Internet Usage Stats and Population Report

CHINA For centuries China stood as a leading civilization, outpacing the rest of the world in the arts and sciences, but in the 19th and early 20th centuries, the country was beset by civil unrest, major famines, military defeats, and foreign occupation. After World War II, the Communists under MAO Zedong established an autocratic socialist system that, while ensuring China’s sovereignty, imposed strict controls over everyday life and cost the lives of tens of millions of people. After 1978, his successor DENG Xiaoping and other leaders focused on market-oriented economic development and by 2000 the output had quadrupled. For much of the population, living standards have improved dramatically and the room for personal choice has expanded, yet political controls remain tight. Many elements that today are of comun use in modern life including paper, gunpowder, fireworks, credit banking, paper money and pasta originated many years ago in China. China is the most populous country in the world and has one of the fastest growing economies in the world today.

Internet Usage and Population Statistics:




% Pen.

Usage Source




1.7 %





2.6 %





4.6 %





5.4 %





7.3 %


7.9 %




10.4 %





12.3 %





19.0 %





28.7 %





31.6 %





49.5 %





52.3 %


Gross Domestic Product:
GDP per capita is US$ 7,380 for 2015 according to the World Bank.

China Broadband Internet Usage:
363.8 million broadband users as of June/2010 per CNNIC.

China Telecommunications Reports

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Doing Business in China

China Search Engines and Directories:

China Search Engines Directory
China Search Engines and Directories.

Chinese top Search Engine.

China Profile by the BBC
The Asian Search Engine (in English).

China Factbook
China information from the CIA World Factbook.

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China Internet and Market Information

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The basic country profile from the Economist.

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Data and Statistics for China.

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Useful information for market research.

China Economic Review
Useful business information from China.

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July 16, 2010 - Soaring growth continues - According to the latest figures from CNNIC, the number of Internet users in China rose to 420 million at the end of June, 2010, an increase of almost 36 million users in the first six months of year 2010 and including 115.1 million users in the rural areas. The current Internet penetration rate in China is 31.6% acording to Internet World Stats statistics.

Mature netizens take a larger percentage in the age structure of the Chinese Internet users than before, and those above the age of 30 account for 41% of the total. At the same time, the educational background and income level of the Chinese netizens has lowered. The time period spent in the use of the Internet by Chinese netizens continues to increase and reached an average of 19.8 hours per week per user.

Insufficient bandwidth continues to be a problem for the Chinese Internet sector. At present, the penetration of broadband in China has reached 98.1% and the number of people using broadband is 364 million. Statistics from Akamai, a U.S. distributed computing platform for global Internet content and application delivery, shows that the average Internet speed in China is 857kbps, which is much slower than that in the U.S., Japan, and South Korea.

CNNIC also reported that the number of IPv4 addresses in China had reached 250 million, an increase of 7.7% compared with six months ago. IPv4 address resources are nearly exhausted and a transition to the IPv6 addresses is imperative.


On September 7, 2007, the China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC) published "Survey Report on the Internet Usage in Chinese Rural Area". This is the first full scale survey report published in China regarding the macro Internet development situation in rural areas of China. The report shows that the number of Internet users in Chinese rural areas has exceeded 37 million, and that their major application is online entertainment, which equals the level in urban areas.

The Digital Divide between urban and rural areas is still obvious. The report shows that by the end of June 2007, the number of the rural Internet users reached 37.41 million. The penetration rate of the Internet for all 737 million rural residents is only 5.1%. Meanwhile, China has 125 million urban Internet users, with an urban penetration rate of 21.6%. However, comparing with the statistics of December 2006, the gap has been gradually narrowed. China had 23.1 million rural Internet users in 2006, with a penetration rate of 3.1%.

The main bottleneck is that at year end of 2006, every 100 households in rural areas possess only 2.7 computers, which is far behind the figure for urban areas (47.2 computers). Comparing with the figures for the same period in 2005, the computer number increased from 0.6 in every 100 rural households, while the urban households now have 5.7 computers more. The report also indicates their reasons for not using the Internet. The main one is "have no facility", which accounted for 39.5% of all non-users in rural areas, while this proportion in urban areas is only 26.6%. Due to the lack of household computers, 53.9% of rural users surf online in Internet cafes, resulting in a much higher figure that even exceeds the national average Internet café surfing rate of 37.2%. Insufficient Internet infrastructures in rural areas has become the major bottleneck that blocking the development of the Internet usage in Chinese rural areas.

Comparing with urban users, the application level of rural Internet users is less advanced. The report shows that 66.5% of rural users read online news, while the proportion in urban areas is 81.5%, which is 15 percentage points higher; 65.8% of the rural users use search engines while the rate in urban areas is 13 percentage points higher (78.4%). Besides, much less users in rural areas have ever touched online purchasing, online banking and online stock trading.

It was found in the survey that rural users and urban users have similar access level for online entertainment. The rates of listening online music, playing online games and watching online movies and TV series of rural users are respectively 68.9%, 47.1% and 60.9%, comparing to 68.4%, 47.0% and 61.2% of urban users.

The survey also involved rural migrants. The statistics show that rural migrant users reached 20 million and that most of them access the Internet in Internet cafes or through their mobile phones. For that matter, they averagely pay 86.6 RMB Yuan per month, that is 11 Yuan higher than the average level of the total Internet users (75 RMB Yuan) and even higher than the total non-student users monthly cost of 80.8 RMB Yuan.

In conclusion, along with the progress of rural informatization access in China, the Internet has become a substantial part of the building of a new-type rural area. 37 million rural users are bringing vast demand and real business opportunities. No one doubts the rural area in China will become a great Internet market.


January 23, 2007 - According to the "19th Statistical Survey Report on Internet Development in China" published today by CNNIC, Internet users in China have reached 137 million, approximately 10.4% of China’s population, at the end of year 2006.

The Internet penetration in Beijing exceeded 30% for the first time. Regarding broadband, 75.9% of Chinese Internet users, about 104 million people, use broadband connections that include xDSL, Cable Modem and leased line. Mobile phone Internet users have also expanded and now total 17 million subscribers.

China’s Internet users increased by 26 million in one year, comparing with December, 2005, showing a growth rate of 23.4%. This compares very positively with the growth rate in previous years (18.2% in 2004 and 18.1% in 2005).

The number of registered .CN domain names in China increased remarkably to 1,803,393 - an increase of 64.4% in just one year. Total domain names in China now amount to 4,109,020, which is 1.16 million more than 6 months ago, with an average growth of 200 thousand per month. The report results show that at the end of 2006, China had 4.47 billion domestic webpages and 122,306 GB of local webpage contents. The annual growth rates of these two are 86.3% and 81.7% respectively. Along with the vast growth of these domestic Internet resources, the total websites and IPv4 addresses in China also grow rapidly and reached 843 thousand and 98 million respectively.


October 27, 2004 - With a population of 1.3 billion, China is the biggest country in the world. The Chinese NIC estimates that China's Internet population grew 28 percent over the past year to 87 million, while use of broadband in that country is soaring. The number of PCs sold in China last year reached 22 million (2nd after U.S.), the number of cell phones sold in 2003 reached 150 million (1st in the world), and there were 1.7 billion instant messages sent. The number of broadband users has reached 31.10 million, an increase of 13.70 million over the past 12 months (an increase of 78.7% over a 6 month period).

China's online shopping market was worth 4.2 billion yuan (US$507.5 million) last year according to market research firm, Shanghai iResearch, and is expected to double this year. Therefore it is no surprise that global Internet giants -- including eBay Inc., Yahoo Inc. and Amazon.com Inc. -- have all taken the China plunge lately, paying a combined US$375 million to acquire domestic start-ups in China, according to the China Business Weekly.

China is both a buyer and seller of products and services worldwide. China is a major global economic force and will grow dramatically in the foreseeable future. The number of Internet users in China increases by 800,000 a week, and in July PricewaterhouseCoopers projected that China’s media sector would achieve a 25 percent growth in revenue through 2008 due to an increase in online advertising.

Even with statistics like these, marketers must note one interesting challenge for selling to China’s consumers online. China has a very cash-oriented economy -- very few people have credit cards -- which makes transactions with customers outside a particular locality difficult. According to the China Business Weekly, the nation's credit card holders now number 2 million, a fraction of its 1.3 billion people.

There are, however, many initiatives taking place to penetrate into this market. For example, online travel agent Ctrip.com recently announced the launch of a travel credit card with China Merchants Bank Co Ltd. Additionally, companies such as EBay's Paypal online payment unit has hired consultants to figure out how to tap into the Chinese market.

It's time for global firms to market to Chinese companies and consumers via the Internet. As we've all seen from the emergence of the English language Internet, first-movers have a significant advantage over those that follow. For marketers wishing to penetrate this market, the following elements should be considered:

1. Web Site Design
This could mean simply a translation of Web sites into Chinese, or re-designing them completely in order to be culturally and aesthetically correct.

2. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Just like with English language search engines, users can increase their chances of being among the top hits on Chinese language search engines by altering and optimizing their web content.

3. Online Auctions
The world leader eBay has already entered the Chinese market, and there are other global Internet auction sites that marketers may want to use.

4. Online Advertising
China's Web sites carry advertising (including Google-like adwords) just like English language Web sites. You need local advertising to enter this specific market.

5. Online Public Relations
There are several Chinese print and electronic publications that receive press releases via email. This option should be considered for additional publicity.

China Internet Report - 2004

JANUARY 20, 2005 - About 94 million people in China were internet users by the end of last year, according to a new survey on internet usage in the world's most populous nation. The number represents a year-on-year growth of 18.2 per cent, Director of China Internet Network Information Centre (CNNIC) Wang Enhai said.

"We have been in the fast lane in terms of number of Netizens and the rapid momentum will continue in subsequent years," Wang said yesterday. Among Chinese internet users, men accounted for 60.6 per cent of the total while women made up 39.4 per cent.

More than half of Chinese internet users were below 25 years of age. Out of the total, 32 per cent are students, 12 per cent professionals and nine per cent are from business and service sectors.

Nearly 67.9 per cent of netizens said they surfed the web mainly at home while about 40 per cent logged on in offices, Internet cafes and schools.

People use the internet mostly for e-mail, reading news and searching for information. Nearly nine out of 10 users said e-mail service was the most important function of the internet and about 65 per cent of them felt obtaining news was the second most important benefit.

The survey also found that a large number of internet users rely on it to gain knowledge. About 6.3 per cent said they used the internet as an education tool.

However, the number of people using e-banking services did not rise much because of security concerns in cyberspace. Only five per cent of respondents said they used cyberbank services in their daily lives.

Source: China Internet Network Information Centre (CNNIC)


Click on this link to see more Asia Telecommunications Reports. New statistics, figures, overviews and updates become available all the time.

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