China Internet Users Top 298 Million
The number of Internet users in China rose nearly 42 percent by the end of 2008 from the previous year, putting its online population at 298 million, according to the China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC).
China continues to have the world’s largest Internet population and 91 percent of users have broadband connections.
The Internet penetration rate in China has climbed to 22.6 percent, surpassing the world average of 21.9 percent. The Chinese government wants phone and broadband access throughout the country by 2010.
The number of mobile users also saw big gains at 113 percent to 117.6 million in 2008 and mobile Internet is set to rapidly grow in the next few years after the country issued telephone providers the licenses to build high-speed mobile networks.
Additionally the number of Internet news readers has increased to 2.34 million and Web sites have become an important tool for publicity, the report said.
News portals in China, such as Sina and Sohu, are significant sources of information for a large number of Internet users in the country.
China has been widely criticized for censoring Internet access to its citizens and requires that all blogger register with the state.