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Mobile Web users surge to 388m

By Chen Limin (China Daily)

13:17, July 21, 2012

A student chats online with her mother in Jieshou, Anhui province. The number of Chinese Internet users increased 11 percent from a year earlier to 538 million at the end of June, or almost 40 percent of the nation's total population.
(Photo/China Daily)

CNNIC report: 40 percent of the population now has access to Internet

The number of Chinese people accessing the Internet via mobile devices has increased to a record high of 388 million at the end of June, a report said on Thursday.

The increase comes amid a slowdown since 2010 in the growth rate of the total number of Chinese Web users, which was at 538 million in the first half.

Mobile phones have become the most widely used devices to access the Internet, boosted by the growing popularity of smartphones and a large number of mobile applications, according to the report by the China Internet Network Information Center.

This echoes the industry players' view that mobile Internet is very likely to be the "next big thing".

Driven by wireless Internet access, the number of China's total Web users rose 11 percent from a year earlier to 538 million, representing almost 40 percent of the nation's total population.

In March, China set the goal of having the Internet penetration rate reach 45 percent during the 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-15).

However, the rapid increase of Internet users has come to an end, and it "has entered a phase of steady development", according to the report of CNNIC, a quasi-governmental organization that monitors China's Web industry.

"Further penetration in the future will rely on people with lower levels of education and those living in less-developed areas," the report said, adding that improved IT infrastructure and better computer skills are also needed.

The increase of mobile Internet users has prompted an increasingly large number of companies to improve their footprints in the sector.

Companies, such as Alibaba Group, Tencent Holdings Ltd, and Qihoo 360 Technology Co, are trying to attract users from the very first moment they touch a mobile phone by providing operating systems, pre-installed applications, or releasing self-brand mobile phones.

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