China's Internet online population reaches 485 million
July 25, 2011
by Mark Ollig

The China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC) defines an Internet user as a Chinese citizen age 6 and above, who, on average, uses the Internet at least one hour per week.

Their website says the CNNIC, the state network information center of China, was established as a non-profit organization June 3, 1997.

July 19, the CNNIC website made available the “28th China Internet Development Statistics Report.”

Your humble and linguistic-learning columnist did his best with the Chinese-to-English translation of the report’s text.

The CNNIC report was supported by Chinese government and business, and by the Chinese community.

The Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology investigations contained within the CNNIC report, were under the guidance of China’s national authorities.

This report stated at the end of June 2011, China’s Internet users or ‘netizens’ population had reached 485 million.

By comparison, the 2010 US Census Bureau confirmed the resident population of the United States April 1, 2010, was 308,745,538.

Microblogging (brief text, video or audio messages) in China, according to the report, is becoming “the fastest growing Internet user application mode.”

By the end of June, microblogging users on China’s version of Twitter, which they call Weibo, reached 195 million.

Blogging and “personal space” according to the CNNIC report, has become an important factor for many network applications.

The CNNIC report’s end of-June statistics disclosed an increase in the number of mobile Internet users. There were 65.5 percent, or 318 million of China’s Internet users operating mobile phones to navigate the Internet.

This increase is, according to the report, “an important part of Chinese Internet users.”

China’s online Internet shopping rose 7.6 percent during the last six-month period, as well as online banking and the use of online payments.

Concerns about network security were made known in this report, as calls for strengthening Internet security were suggested.

Statistics during the first half of 2011 showed 217 million Chinese Internet users who encountered an online virus attack, and 121 million who had stolen passwords.

Chinese Internet users experiencing online consumer fraud during this same time period reached 38.8 million.

The report mentions a decrease in Chinese consumer confidence because of online fraud and security issues.

The CNNIC report said for the Internet to have credible security, the social, legal and other factors needed would require input from government authorities, Internet companies, and action on the part of all Internet users.

Strengthening of corporate network security systems, in order to allow for a safe and reliable Internet environment, was also stated in the report.

By the end of June, the number of Chinese users actively participating in online social networks was 230 million.

Ways of adding more Internet e-commerce was also discussed in the CNNIC report.

To increase “profit channels” the report talks about expanding e-commerce into what are currently called “simple entertainment sites” or Social Networking Sites (SNS).

In reading this portion of the report, it seemed to me there was some concern being communicated about SNS becoming too “entertainment-oriented.”

The CNNIC report mentioned how expanding e-commerce within SNS faced challenges.

It was suggested adding too much e-commerce within a SNS, could provoke the loss of its users.

The report said attaining e-commerce products that are SNS-oriented, is being developed as the Chinese domestic industry continues to explore this direction of the Internet.

Online travel booking services, or Travel Reservation Services, is specifically mentioned in the CNNIC report as seeing increased usage during the first half of 2011.

The report relates how personal bloggers, along with the emergence of other information and communication channels, appear to influence the users of traditional network news channels in providing instant news-related information to other online users.

The first half of 2011 saw a 125 percent increase, or 42.2 million new Chinese Internet users making online purchases.

The total number of Chinese online shoppers had reached 173 million by the end of June 2011.

The current Chinese online shopping marketplace will be upgrading to one with more brand names, quality, and competition. The CNNIC report goes on to say it will become normal for China’s Internet users to purchase their products and services online.

The end of June statistics showed the number of users of online entertainment applications, such as online gaming, at 311 million, while online music subscribers numbered 3.82 million.

The report also mentions the 815 million Chinese people who are “non-Internet users.”

Reasons given within the report for these non-Internet users include “do not understand the computer/network,” “not interested” and “expensive Internet access fees.”

The CNNIC report said that in order to help reduce this demographic, improved access conditions to the Internet and computing hardware is needed; along with better computing and Internet literacy skill enhancements in basic network operations for the elderly, and other people living in China’s rural areas.

The 51-page CNNIC report (in Chinese) can be downloaded at http://tinyurl.com/3hwy28q.

The China Internet Network Information Center website is http://www.cnnic.org.cn.

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