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Nation's Internet users exceed 123 million 2006-07-20 08:19:27

    BEIJING, July 20 -- The number of Internet users in China is impressive, according to the latest figures, but one official says the industry has no time to rest.

    "The number 123 million seems to be quite a big number, but the penetration of the Internet in China is still just 9.4 per cent, so there is still plenty of room to develop," Wang Enhai, information service director for the China Internet Network Information Centre (CNNIC), said yesterday.

    The CNNIC, based in Beijing, released the latest figures, which represent a 19.4 per cent growth since June 2005. It's an increase from the previous year-on-year growth rate of 18.4 per cent.

    Another reason for optimism in the industry is that the number of broadband users in China reached 77 million at the end of June, an increase of 45 per cent over June 2005.

    Lu Bowang, CNNIC senior consultant, said the increase of broadband users is encouraging news to providers of such online services as games and broadcasting, which require high bandwidth.

    Nusports, an authorized broadcaster of the FIFA World Cup match highlights on the Internet, earned almost 10 million yuan (US$1.25 million) in advertisements in the past month. It was the service's first appearance on a large scale in China.

    The results were based on an online and telephone survey of almost 40,000 people in June.

    Although the Chinese Internet population is second in the world to that of the United States, it has the largest young Internet user population.

    The CNNIC survey showed 82.3 per cent of people using the Internet in China are below 35 years old and almost 40 per cent of the netizens are aged 18 to 24.

    The ratio of senior middle school students is even higher, at 50 per cent.

    "It may be a worrying phenomenon that the ratio of Internet users above 30 years old is dropping because the Internet economy is too much focused on entertainment and young users," Lu said.

    According to the Internet market research company Shanghai iResearch Co Ltd, the revenue from new economy-related businesses, mainly Internet and mobile value-added services, was 24.8 billion yuan (US$3.1 billion), but only 7.1 billion yuan (US$900 million) was generated from enterprise services.

    Mainland users spent an average of 16.5 hours a week on the Internet, more than those in Hong Kong and many other developed regions.

    This year's survey showed more than 30 million people shopped on the Internet, compared with 20 million one year ago.

    As many as 25 million people also used the Internet to find jobs, the CNNIC said, and 15 million people took online classes.

(Source: China Daily)

Editor: Lu Hui
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