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China's Internet users go mobile

(Xinhua)

10:20, July 20, 2012

BEIJING, July 19 (Xinhua) -- China is going mobile as mobile phones have overtaken desktop computers as the primary source of Internet access in the country, a report showed Thursday.

Some 388 million Chinese were connected to the Internet through mobile phones as of the end of June, compared with 380 million people who connected through their desktops, according to a report released by the China Internet Networks Information Center (CNNIC).

"While mobile Internet grew fast, the utilization of desktops for Internet access has kept sliding," the report said. "A whole new pattern of Internet access is emerging in China."

Liu Bing, CNNIC deputy director, attributed the shift to cheaper smartphones that have become affordable to migrant workers and rural residents.

China surpassed the United States to become the world's largest smartphone market by volume in the third quarter of 2011, when smartphone shipments reached a record 24 million units in the country, according to data from U.S. market research company Strategy Analytics.

While global giants like Apple and Samsung Electronics dominate the high-end market, domestic smartphone makers such as Huawei and Xiaomi Technology have eyed middle- or low-end markets with lower-priced products.

The rapid expansion of the mobile Internet population has boosted mobile online payment, which in turn is expected to stimulate the development of mobile e-commerce.

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