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China Has 253 Million Users – Largest in the World

China has now 253 million internet users according to the latest report of the China Internet Network Information Centre (The CNNIC is a government agency).

That’s 43 million users more than the last report released at the end of last year and it also makes it the world leader in Internet users.

253 million internet users equals an internet penetration of 19.1 percent which according to the report is still below the global average of 21.1%.

Over the last years the total number of Internet users has been rising sharply. In July 2006 for example there were “only” 123 million users.

See the chart to get an idea of the growth over the years in absolute numbers as well as growth percentage per half year period.

china stats 2008 july China Has 253 Million Users   Largest in the World

Click here for the big version of the China Internet Statistics July 2008

Other noteworthy stats from the report:

  • 214 million Chinese netizens are broadband users. (equals 84.7 percent of users)
  • 73 million users have accessed the internet in the last 6 months with their mobile
  • 46.4 percent of the Internet users are now female, an increase of 3.6 percent
  • 68.6 percent of the Internet users are 30 years or younger
  • 82.8% percent of the internet users have an monthly income of less than 3000 Rmb (equals $ 440 or € 281)
  • 74.1% of the users access the internet from home
  • 11.3% or 19 hours is the average time spent per user per week.

The CWR blog has written about what the users do on the Internet according to the report.

Especially interesting are his insights on the definition of what is regarded as a blog (which puts the numbers in perspective) and BBS (Forum) users.

On Blogs:

CNNIC said that over 107 million users in China own blogs/spaces, doubled in six months. By the end of 2007, it was reported that there were about 49 million users having blogs/space. The report does not provide a definition of blog/space. I guess the statistics includes users in SNS as well. Since many users write posts in SNS, for example, users will write articles in 51.com, it will be counted as a blogger as well. According to the report, over 70 million users updated their blogs/spaces in last six months.

On Online Music:

Online music is still the most popular services with 84.5% usage rate. Notably, IM usage rate decreased from 81.4% in January 2008 to 77.2% while email usage rate increased from 56.5% to 62.6%. About 81.5% people read news online, a big increase from 73.6% half a year ago.

ON BBS/Forums

The report said that 38.8% of Internet users in China, or about 98 million users, visited BBS/online forum in last six month, the number is much lower than I expected. BBS/online forum is one of the most important service in China’s Internet, there should be more users of BBS, I think. About 23.4% or 59 million users have posted articles in BBS/online forum in last six months.

On Shopping:

About 25%, or 63.3 million users go shopping online, an increase from 46.4 million in half a year ago, and 22.5% or 57 million users made online payment, an increase of 23.8 million users.

Compared to the last report (January 2008) the growth is slowing a bit but one thing is sure, the numbers will be going up.

Whether the Internet users will really start spending serious money online in the short term has to be seen. Considering that the majority are young and with an income of below 3000 Renminbi that may take some time.

If you can read Chinese you can download the report in Pdf or Word.


Gemme van Hasselt is an Internet Marketing Consultant, living in Shanghai, China.

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