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January 15, 2013

China gets 51M New Net Users, Up 10 Percent

By Jody Ray Bennett, TMCnet Contributing Writer

As the price of smart devices continue to fall, countries around the world are watching more segments of its population plug into the Internet via computer, tablet or smartphone. And despite efforts to control access to certain information, countries like China are watching more of citizenry obtain access to the World Wide Web.

According to a recent report, “China, for example, has seen an increase of 51 million new Internet users in 2012 alone – up 10 percent from 2011. The country now has around 564 million Web users total.”

Much of this growth occurred via smartphone and mobile net connectivity, with sales of mobile and tablet devices up nearly 20 percent from previous years. While the Chinese state goes through rigorous lengths to control content and access to various websites, “The Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology estimates that China’s internet population will reach roughly 800 million users by 2015.”

Due to tight controls from the state government, many copycat addresses pop up in Chinese domains that mimic popular foreign sites. The Chinese corner of the Web also has a large share of Chinese-language Web portals like Sina.com and163.com. These are increasingly popular among online users in the country, and Sina claims it has about “94.8 million registered users and more than 10 million active users engaged in their fee-based services.”

As more of these social networking sites arise alongside a growing market economy that is bolstering sales of these net-able devices, China should expect its population of Internet users to steadily increase over the next decade – just as Internet speeds are becoming faster and more affordable for a flourishing consumer market.

As this segment of the population grows, it’s still unknown which direction the Chinese government will take with regard to Internet accessibility, content provision and other restrictions it currently maintains on its corner of cyberspace.

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Edited by Braden Becker
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