Internet users in China reachs 210 million

  • heads for the world's largest online population
BEIJING — China had 210 million Internet users by the end of 2007 and will soon have more web surfers than any other country on the planet, an official report said Thursday.

China's online population was only five million less than the US, the China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC) said in a report. "At the beginning of 2008, China will become the country with the largest online population in the world," the report said.

China added 73 million new online users last year, 40 percent came from rural areas, where development has so far been held back by low incomes and weak infrastructure.

The number of rural Internet users reached 52.6 million by the end of 2007, up a whopping 127.7 percent from a year earlier, the CNNIC said.

It noted that China's Internet penetration rate, the ratio of Web user numbers to the country's total population, was only 16 percent, lower than the global average of 19.1 percent. The figure in the US is more than 70 percent.

Meanwhile, the number of Web users accessing through their mobile phones nearly tripled to 50 million, based on the fact that China already has the globe's biggest mobile phone user population, numbering 539.4 million at the end of last November.

The most used online service in China is music, followed by instant messages, movies, news, search engines, online games and email.

About 24 percent of Netizens had updated their own blogs within the past six months, while only a third of respondents believed what the bloggers write.

More than 40 million people play online games in the country, 22.36 million of whom are described as "regular subscribers". The online games market is estimated to have generated $1.45bn in revenues during 2007, an increase of 74.6 per cent over last year.

(AFP, Shanghaidaily, Vnunet.com)

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