As per the latest report released by the China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC), China’s Internet population has surged to 564 million. And reflecting the global trend is the fact that 75 percent access Internet on mobile.
According to the report, an estimated 51 million new Chinese users accessed the Internet in 2012, which marked an increase of around 10 percent. This has also lead to an increase in the Internet penetration in the country, which is now 42.1 percent. The boom is mostly thanks to mobile technology, as people are increasingly accessing Internet on their smartphones and even tablets. The trend has resulted in an increase in those accessing Internet on their smart devices by around 18.1 percent, thus catapulting the mobile population to 420 million. The report further highlighted that the popularity of Internet cafes was waning around the country, and the same goes for desktop computers, the use of which fell by nearly three percent.
Graph reflecting Internet penetration in China over the years. Image Source
The report also highlighted other interesting trends, like the increasing popularity of microblogging. Internet users in China have further embraced micorblogging, registering an increase of six percent. Apart from microblogging, online shopping seems to be picking up and the number now stands at 242 million people. Yet again, smart devices make their presence felt, as the use of mobile technology to shop online has increased by 6.6 percentage compared to 2011.
Considering the tight grip China has on its Internet network, these statistics of Internet usage are interesting. The country has in place intricate system that’s more like an Intranet and thus allows it to control the web. It also has human censors who take down and weddle out content that is deemed unfit. For most of Chinese Internet users, censorship is the order of the day and they have to practice self-censorship when using Internet or be ready to pay the price, as online content is under heavy surveillance. Also, a new proposal by one of China’s governing body seeks to make it mandatory for users to use their real identities when using the Internet. If passed, this law will prove to be quite detrimental.