More Chinese Are Accessing The Internet On Their Phones
July 19, 2012

More Chinese Are Accessing The Internet On Their Phones

Michael Harper for — Your Universe Online

The world is becoming increasingly mobile, and as technology continues to advance, our want to take the world with us on the go is satiated.

As proof, a new report from the China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC) has revealed that there are now 538 million Internet users in China, 388 million of which are getting online via their smartphones.

To put these numbers in perspective, China has the world´s largest population, and nearly 4 out of every 10 people are using the web. Until this year, many Internet users got online from their computers. Now that smartphones are becoming cheaper and more available in rural areas not yet outfitted with broadband connections, more people have been able to access the ℠net with their cell phones. In fact, more than half (52%) of new Chinese Internet users hail from these rural areas and are signing on with their smartphones.

"Mobile phones are a cheaper and more convenient way to access the Internet for (residents in) China's vast rural areas and for the enormous migrant population," notes the report.

Now, there are an estimated 388 million mobile Internet users, up nearly 10% from the beginning of the year.

This upward trend has seen a steep incline, as the number of those connecting to the internet from their pocket devices has risen by 5% since the end of last year.

"Smartphones are more and more powerful and there is a new wave of mobile application innovation," says the report.

"The emergence of smartphones under 1,000 yuan ($157) sharply lowered the threshold for using the devices and encouraged average mobile phone users to become mobile web surfers."

Once connected, more than half of these new Chinese Internet users prefer to log on to micro-blogging sites such as Sina Weibo. This micro-blogging site works much like Twitter, which is banned in the communist country.

Other web activities popular in the States are also popular with the newly connected Chinese users. For instance, the CNNIC report shows that 350 million people are now watching online videos in China, up by 25 million. Of these, more than 100 million of these online video fans are watching on their smartphones, representing a 27.7% growth since the end of 2011.

An estimated 187 million Chinese Internet users are now buying things online, according to the report, up by 12.3% from the end of last year. The report suggests that mobile payments are still in their early stages in China, but the demand has been great. In the first half of this year, more than 37 million of China´s Internet users took advantage of a mobile payment option.

The thought of more people getting online is a frightening one for the communist country, especially with the popularity of micro-blogging sites and online videos on the rise. China often blocks sites and content which it deems as inappropriate or offensive to the Chinese people or its government.

On the heels of today´s report, Chinese officials have announced plans to further tighten their control over services such as Weibo, including making users sign up under their real names.