China ahead of U.S. in Internet use

Pallavi Aiyar

Beijing: The world’s most populous country has also emerged as home to the world’s largest Internet population. Statistics revealed on Friday showed China to have definitively overtaken the U.S. in terms of the number of its netizens.

According to the China Internet Network Information Centre the country had 253 million people online by the end of June, a 56 per cent increase from the previous year.

In contrast, the U.S. had an estimated 223.1 million Internet users in June, according to Nielsen Online, a research firm.

However, Internet penetration in China is only 19 per cent and continues to lag behind not only America’s 71 per cent, but also the 21 per cent that is the world average.

Young people form an overwhelmingly high percentage of China’s cyber citizens, with high school students accounting for 39 million of the 43 million new Net users added over the last year. People aged below 30 accounted for 69 per cent of total web users.

Though China closely monitors Internet activity, blocking access to web sites that are deemed pornographic or subversive, online commerce, video sharing and other businesses have been growing rapidly.

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