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People's Daily Online>>China Society

Half of 500m Web users are microbloggers

By Xu Tianran (Global Times)

09:46, January 17, 2012

The number of Chinese Internet users has surpassed 500 million, with nearly half of them using microblogs, or Weibo, official figures showed Monday.(Global Times Photo)

About 55.8 million Chinese people became new Internet users last year, bringing the country’s Web population to 513 million, representing an Internet penetration rate of 38.3 percent, according to a report released by China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC).

The number of Internet users increased by 4 percent, less than the average annual growth rate of 6 percent between 2006 and 2010. About 90.9 percent of people with high school diplomas or above surf the Internet, and 96.1 percent of those with a college education or above use the Web, the report showed.

Although 60 percent of the population still remain unconnected to the Internet, the market’s expansion has reached a bottleneck, as almost everyone with enough funds and an adequate education level has already gone online, the report concluded, adding that the access rate among people with an education background of primary school level remains very slow.

The Internet usage rate among people aged between 10 and 29 has been growing rapidly and almost peaked. People aged between 30 and 39 will be the main force behind access growth, while those aged above 50 will not have any effect, the report said.

"In the past, most Internet users were in the rapidly developing coastal areas. Now, many people in the central and western regions also have access to the Web," Wei Wuhui, an Internet and new media expert with Shanghai Jiaotong University, told the Global Times.

"To a great extent, the values and opinions held by Web users represent the mainstream ideas of the Chinese people," Wei said.

Meanwhile, the number of microbloggers surged by 296 percent year-on-year to 250 million as of December, suggesting that about half of Internet users use microblogs.

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