The size of the Chinese Internet is staggering. There are almost 600 million Internet users in China, more than in any other country in the world (the next highest is the United States, with 254 million). And those users represent just 44% of the Chinese population. If half the population of every province in China had access to the Internet, 135 million additional people would come online. Among Chinese Internet users, 78.5% of them access the Web using their mobile devices (compared to 63% in the U.S.), and many of the most popular services, like WeChat, exist only as mobile apps.

There are many reasons for the immense popularity of the Internet in China. The first set is related to what’s happening offline in the country, such as censorship of other media and urbanization.

Another major reason for the Internet's popularity in China is the immense selection of quality sites and services. Even though Chinese people can't access Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and some Google services, they can access multiple Chinese equivalents. In the U.S., Facebook is the primary site that people use to interact with friends. In China, people can choose between QQZone, WeChat and Renren, to name a few. To interact with celebrities and strangers, most Americans use Twitter. In China, people can choose between Sina Weibo, Tencent Weibo, Alibaba Weibo as well as a ton of little Weibos. The same goes for social gaming: Tencent, Netease, Sina Weibo and others offer many social games. There are also many sites for which theres no equivalent in the U.S. For example, sites like and enable users to sing for or with other people. Such sites provide much-needed entertainment and allow people to connect with one another easily.

The third set of reasons behind the Internets popularity in China has to do with the ways the Web connects shoppers to businesses.

You can find a large selection of products at low prices, and this draws consumers online. In addition, advertising on TV is expensive as the state has a monopoly. One reason e-commerce works so well in China is that in many of the 160 cities , same-day delivery is extremely cheap. Buying online is so much more fun when the item you ordered in the morning is on your doorstep that afternoon.— New York Times News Service