About 206 million Chinese, or 68.6 percent of the country's Internet users, are using the web to get their main source of news, the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) reported.
CASS, a top academic institution, released the figure in the Blue Book of China's Economy (2009) report.
Disasters such as snowstorms during the Lunar New Year holiday, the massive earthquake that struck the southwestern Sichuan province in May as well as the Olympics stimulated the growth of the online news population, said Zhu Huaxin, author of the report.
"The year 2008 saw rapid development and wide application of the Internet in China," he said.
At the end of June, Chinese Internet users hit 253 million, the most in the world. The latest official figures put users at 290 million. That's 80 million more Internet users than in 2007, according to the China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC).
About 80 percent of these users look for information and news through the Internet. Around 60 percent of them use search engines.
CNNIC found that people younger than 30 are the majority of online news readers, accounting for about 69 percent of total Internet users.
In response to the phenomenon, Xinhua News Agency launched a multi-language news search engine, "Xinhua Search Engine," on its official website: xinhuanet.com (or news.cn).
Users can find photos, videos and articles in Chinese, English, French, Spanish, Russian, and Arabic languages.