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China has 103 million internet users, says official survey

China now has more than 100 million Internet users. The number of netizens in China rose to 103 million by late June this year, according to official figures. Mao Qian, head of Optical Telecommunications Committee of China Telecommunications Society, said the statistitcs were from a report that was recently completed based on the 16th survey into the development of the Internet in China.


NET DIVIDE: Business is a driving force. With the construction of four backbone networks from 1994 to 1996, numerous start-ups and portal websites mushroomed. Then, "since the late 1990s, a dazzling web-page is a trump for companies to scrabble for netizens," says Huang Chengqing, secretary-general of the Internet Society of China (ISC).

Mao, who was addressing a conference in Wuhan, capital of Hubei Province, central China, said there are 53 million broadband subscribers, most of whom are ADSL clients. The latest information from the Chinese ministry of information industry said households with ADSL access outlets totalled 33 million across China, accounting for two thirds of broadband subscribers in the country.

The survey suggests that many broadband subscribers grumble about the speed to surf the Internet, with 5 per cent of the group being "very unsatisfied", and another 17 per cent "not quite satisfied", and 40 per cent saying "so-so".

Mao was confident that the speed problem to surf the Internet would be solved within 2-3 years following progress in the technology to expand optic fibre access to more households. About 49.5 million people access the Internet through dial-ups.

Today, one out of 13 Chinese uses the Internet. Ten years ago, there were barely 50,000 Internet accounts throughout China. A survey on some 2,400 people in five Chinese cities recently showed that an average netizen spends 2.73 hours online daily, reading news, sending or receiving emails, playing games, downloading music, gathering background materials or chatting.

According to China Daily, a major driving force behind the rapid development of the Internet in China in the past decade has been the government's promotion. Since its formal integration into the global networks on April 20, 1994, there were "information highway" projects in the late 1990s to bring government departments at various levels to "go online," which made even remote governments on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau accessible to the Internet.

Business is also a driving force. With the construction of four backbone networks from 1994 to 1996, numerous start-ups and portal websites mushroomed. Then, "since the late 1990s, a dazzling web-page is a trump for companies to scrabble for netizens," Huang Chengqing, secretary-general of the Internet Society of China (ISC), told China Daily.

China currently has the largest broadband access market in the world, the number of its broadband users is the greatest in Asia, but family broadband penetration rate is still lower than 3 per cent, far lower than that of the Republic of Korea, Singapore, and some other countries of the region.

The Internet growth in general and broadband growth in patricular have had an impact on the new media economy as well. On October 25, China's largest e-commerce portal Alibaba.com announced it had successfully acquired the entire assets of Yahoo! China and gained $1 billion in the merger. It was the largest merger-acquisition deal in China's Internet history.


NET BOOM: A survey on some 2,400 people in five Chinese cities recently showed that an average netizen spends 2.73 hours online daily, reading news, sending or receiving emails, playing games, downloading music, gathering background materials or chatting.

Alibaba is China's leading e-commerce company, operating the world's largest online marketplaces for both international and China's domestic trade. It operates China's most popular online payment system, AliPay. The Alibaba websites have more than 15 million registered users in 200 countries and regions.

The big players of the Internet are getting richer too. Two Internet tycoons have made it to China's list of 10 billionaires in Forbes magazine's annual ranking of the nation's wealthiest people. William Ding, founder and director of NetEase.com Inc, came in at the number three spot on the list with an estimated net worth of US$1.27 billion. His wealth nearly doubled from $668 million. Ding led the list in 2003, but dropped to sixth place last year due to stock market fluctuations. Chen Tianqio, founder and chief executive officer of Shanda Interactive Entertainment Ltd, China's largest provider of online games, came in at number 10, with an estimated net worth of US$1 billion.

The Chinese are now better connected. The number of mobile phone subscribers in the country reached 376 million at the end of September this year, according to a forum on mobile telecommunications industry held recently in Shanghai. At the end of 2004, there were 25.7 mobile phones for every 100 Chinese, which exceeded the world's average figure, statistics released at the 2005 China Mobile Telecommunications Terminal Development Forum showed.

The survey predicted that the number of mobile phone subscribers in China would reach 380 million by the end of this year, and rise to 520 million by 2008 and 600 million by 2010. China has also seen fast income growth in the mobile telecommunications market, with annual revenue from market operation services reaching 250 billion yuan ($30.86 billion), a year-on-year increase of more than 20 per cent.

Mobile phone sales reached 100 billion yuan, an increase of 30 per cent over the previous year. It is estimated that the mobile telecommunications market will contribute 500 billion yuan to China's total GDP for 2005, or 8-10 per cent of the national total.

Date posted: November 6, 2005 Last modified: May 23, 2018 Total views: 11