BEIJING, July 18 (Xinhuanet) --China's Internet population reached 591 million by the end of June, fueled by a booming mobile Internet user base, a top industry group said yesterday.
More than 70 percent of the new users accessed the Internet via smartphones or other wireless devices. These users are already accustomed to services like instant messaging such as Tencent's WeChat and payment modes like Alibaba's Alipay on handsets, according to the China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC), a government-authorized Internet research organization based in Beijing.
CNNIC publishes China's Internet development report twice a year, which is regarded as an authoritative dot-com review of the country.
"The traditional Internet applications (e-mail and search engine) have developed smoothly in the period but mobile Internet has come into the spotlight," CNNIC said in a statement on its website.
By the end of June, China had 591 million Internet users, a 10 percent growth from a year ago, and indicating that 44.1 percent of the country's population uses the web. The Internet penetration rate was 2 percentage points more from the end of last year, CNNIC revealed.
The growing web applications were online music, video, games and literature, according to CNNIC.
China's mobile Internet user base reached 464 million by June, 78.5 percent of the total Internet users, compared with 72.2 percent a year ago, the center said.
Mobile Internet has become new economy development engine with an increasing number of users and latest innovation, according to Analysys International, a Beijing-based research firm.
WeChat, which is mainly used on mobile platforms, has attracted more than 400 million users in China within about a year. Its developer Tencent has launched WeChat in overseas markets and expects to reach the 500-million user mark soon.
GSMA, a global mobile communications industry association, said last month that by 2017, the Asia Pacific region will have 1.9 billion mobile subscribers, accounting for almost half of the predicted global total of 3.9 billion.
The popularity of smartphones and wider coverage of 3G network, which provides faster web access, will continue to boost the user base of mobile Internet, CNNIC added.
(Source: Shanghai Daily)