253 million Internet users and counting

39.2% of Chinese online go to Internet cafés

CNNIC is a state-owned organization that put out official figures about China's Internet. CNNIC counter-intuitively stands for China Internet Network Information Center, and is pronounced 'cynic', which is what you should be when you hear any statistics that come from China.

Nonetheless, CNNIC's reports remain the most accurate and regularly updated sources of data about the Chinese Internet.

Kaiser Kuo has translated the meat of a CNNIC report released this month (in Chinese only, downloadable from this page).

Here's a small sample, go to Kuo's post on the Digital Watch blog for much more from the report:

CNNIC 22nd Report: Some Excerpts & Observations

First, the big number: 253 million Internet users. That of course puts China over the top to claim the number 1 spot, but we’ve all known that for some time. The total represents a 56.2% year-on-year growth — up by 91 million from June of last year, and up 43 million from December, when the last CNNIC report, number 21, came out...

...Access: 84.7% of Chinese Internet users are now accessing the Net via broadband. That’s 214 million broadband users, compared with 168 million at the end of 2007. This to me is tremendously impressive. We can officially pronounce the age of dial-up over.

There are now 84.7 million individual computers accessing the Internet from homes, an increase of 6.7 million in the first half of 2008, for a half-year growth of 8.6%.

Desktop PCs remain the main form of access, with 87.3% of Netizens accessing by desktops. Notebook computers and mobile devices are increasingly important to, with 30.9% and 28.9% respectively. These are both trending upward while desktop PC access is declining.

Access via mobile phone is still mainly supplemental, and is rarely the main means of access. Of the 73.05 million who reportedly use mobile handsets to access, highest rates are in the 18-24 age group, with 56.1% of mobile Internet users in that age range and 86% 30 or under. Students make up a huge percentage of those — 39.7%

Home access to the Internet has increased from 67.3% at the end of 2007 to 74.1% currently. But 39.2% are accessing from Internet cafes — a total of 99.18 million, representing an increase in this half-year period of 2.8 million people...

... What People Do Online: The 10 most commonly used applications, in order, are Internet music, Internet news, instand messaging, Internet video, search engines, email, online games, blogs and personal spaces, forums/BBS, and e-commerce.

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