China internet users cross 800-million mark, social media revolution continues

However, the government controls the content using massive firewalls to prevent all politically sensitive materials from the net.

Published: 21st August 2018 08:31 PM  |   Last Updated: 21st August 2018 08:31 PM   |  A+A-

A woman uses a smartphone app to live-stream a video of herself at a corporate booth at the Global Mobile Internet Conference in Beijing (File | AP)


BEIJING: The number of internet users in China has crossed the 800 million mark as of June 2018, according to an official report today, making the Asian economic giant home to the world's biggest online community.

The number of internet users in China rose to 802 million in the first half of this year, an increase of about 3.8 per cent over the figures registered six months ago, with over 98 per cent accessing the net through mobiles, the 42nd bi-annual statistical report from the China Internet Network Information Centre (CNNIC) said.

The increase brought the country's internet availability rate to 57.7 per cent, with 26.3 per cent of internet users living in rural areas, it said, adding that between January and June, 788 million Chinese used mobile phones to surf the internet, making up 98.3 per cent of the total internet users.

Their cumulative mobile internet traffic reached 26.6 billion GB, an increase of 199.6 per cent, the state-run Xinhua news agency said, quoting the report.

The fast spread of internet in China in the last few years sparked a wave of social media revolution leading millions of people taking to Weibo, regarded as the Chinese twitter, breaking the monopoly of the state media.

However, the government controls the content using massive firewalls to prevent all politically sensitive materials from the net.

In the commercial sector, online shopping and online payment users accounted for 71 per cent of China's total online users.

As per the report, the total number of online shoppers was 569 million.

The value of online retail sales reached 4.08 trillion yuan (about USD 594 billion) during the first half of 2018, a year-on-year increase of 30.1 per cent.

Online takeout service users also increased during this period, with 43.6 per cent of Chinese internet users using mobile phones to order takeout food.

In the first half of 2018, the internet has provided more comprehensive and profound impacts on China's employment situation, the report said, adding that "it provides the youth with low-cost and low-threshold opportunities, stimulates large-scale business start-ups, and unleashes grassroots innovation capabilities."

By June 2018, users of China's online government services reached 470 million, accounting for 58.6 per cent of the total online users, it said.


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