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Internet Users In China Now Top 450 Million

January 19, 2011

The number of people going online in China increased 19.1% over the past year, and by the end of 2010, more than 450 million people were using the Internet, the China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC) announced on Wednesday.

Between 2009 and 2010, the number of people surfing the Web in the Asian country jumped 73.3 million, to 457 million. According to the CNNIC, that means that more than a third of the entire population (34.3%) were regular Internet users.

According to the Xinhua news agency, the state-operated network information group found that Chinese net-users spend approximately 2.61 hours online each day and 18.3 hours per week.

Approximately two-thirds (66.2%) of Chinese internet users used smartphones or other mobile devices to access the Internet. In addition, the number of people shopping online jumped 48.6% in 2010, while the number of people using e-banking services was up 48.2% and the number of people paying bills online soared 45.8%.

The CNNIC survey polled 60,000 participants in 31 provinces, as well as 90,000 others who completed questionnaires online, according to Xinhua’s report Wednesday.

According to the Associated Press (AP), “The communist government actively promotes Internet use for business and education, though it operates an extensive censorship system to block access to material it considers subversive or pornographic.”

“China’s spiraling online population has turned the Internet into a forum for citizens to express their opinions in a way rarely seen in a country where the traditional media is under strict government control,” AFP reporters added in a January 19 article.

“The Internet has also become a lucrative marketplace,” claims the French news agency, who reported that online sales increased 22% over the past year to $684 billion (or 4.5 trillion yuan) “as more price-sensitive consumers turned to the web for cheaper products amid rising inflation.”

The sales data cited by AFP was published by the China e-Business Research Center on Tuesday, and according to the wire service, the Center attributed that growth to the lower prices and increased consumer confidence in online shopping.

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