The China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC) has revealed that the country now has more than 800 million internet users.
According to Bloomberg, CNNIC’s 42nd statistical report on internet development shows that China now has 802 million Internet users — larger than the combined populations for Japan, Russia, Mexico and the U.S.
CNNIC, which is a branch of China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, also estimated that 29.68 million people came online for the first time in the second half of 2018, bringing the country’s internet adoption to 57.7 percent. In addition, 788 million people are reportedly mobile internet users, which is 98 percent of the population – a clear indication that mobile technology plays an important role for consumers in China.
Other notable statistics, according to reports, include the fact that 21 percent of China’s internet users are also doing their banking online, 71 percent of users take advantage of online payments or eCommerce services, 74.1 percent used short video applications, 30.6 percent utilize bike sharing apps, 43.2 percent booked a taxi with a mobile app and 37.3 percent went online to reserve buses and trains.
But while internet use is growing, the Chinese government is still keeping a watchful eye on its use. Twitter and Facebook are currently unavailable in Mainland China, as well as some local services such as Toutiao, run by new media firm Bytedance, which was recently ordered by Chinese officials to shut down a parody app.
And last year, Apple reportedly removed VPN apps from its store in China. Virtual private networks (VPNs) could enable users to access China’s uncensored internet. Some VPN companies then accused the U.S.-based company of “aiding China’s censorship effort.” Apple responded that China had begun requiring VPN app developers to have licenses, which is why it needed to remove the apps. The new regulation came into effect in early 2017.