China’s Internet Population Surges To Almost 1 Billion

China, internet, users, ecommerce, livestream shopping

A new report from the Chinese government shows that internet users in the country surged to 989 million amid the pandemic, an increase of 85.4 million since March 2020, and that 79.1 percent of China’s internet users have shopped online.

The report, published by the China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC) on Wednesday (Feb. 4), said that China has been the world’s largest online retail market for eight consecutive years. The population of netizens who are under 20 or older than 50 years old escalated. eCommerce sales also grew, reaching ¥11.76 trillion ($1.8 trillion) in 2020, up 10.9 percent from 2019. 

From March through the end of December, online shoppers, mostly on mobile devices, increased by 72.15 million to 782 million. Livestream shopping also surged in popularity, with 66.2 percent of users making a purchase. 

The report also indicated that people had more money to spend and were working remotely. Internet users with a monthly income of at least 5,001 yuan ($774) rose to 29.3 percent in December, up from 27.6 percent in March. The number of people working remotely climbed by 147 million from June to 346 million as of December — about a third of the country’s internet users.

Internet users watching videos online hit 927 million in December, up by 76.33 million since March. Short video users alone increased by 100 million from March to 873 million at the end of the year.

Telehealth and remote learning escalated during the pandemic, but both have dropped off since December. Remote education was down 81.25 million from 423 million in March. Telehealth users dropped to 215 million, down from 276 million in June. 

China’s biggest internet watchdog — The Cyberspace Administration of China — is in the midst of seeking public feedback on revamping internet oversight regulations. The rules haven’t been updated in over 20 years and expanded oversight is needed for digital payments, eCommerce, and livestreams, the agency said.