Exhibition Gets Shanghai Clicking

Wang Yuwei spent the day pushing through the throng at the Shanghai Exhibition Centre Friday, picking up website information, consulting online stock trading and learning tips on how to get a better job via recruitment websites.

Wang has been to all the web shows held this year in Shanghai. "I want my life to revolve around the Internet in the future," said Wang.

This is music to the ears of Shanghai's municipal government. As the mastermind behind the first Shanghai International Internet Websites Promotion Exhibition, which runs until Sunday, city officials hope the web fair will add spice to normal life and encourage more residents in Shanghai to embrace the Internet as a way of life.

For eight-year-old Ge Yuliang, his cyber life has already begun. Ge asked his father to buy a computer and modem to go online a year ago and now he surfs the Internet often. Ge spent his time at the fair locating two websites, one about children's education and the other on cartoons.

The Internet has been spreading quickly to households over the last 15 months. Nearly 40 per cent of Shanghai's households will have plugged into the Internet by the end of this year.

An ambitious blueprint has been drawn up which commits the city hall to move public services including medical health, welfare, funeral, education and wedding information online in the next five years.

However, high Internet access and service charges, poor web content and poor delivery and payment systems have diluted the basis for value-added services like e-shopping and online study.

Even Liu Juntong, a 60-year-old man busy searching websites that can cater for senior citizens, is disappointed.

"Domain names for Chinese websites are in English writing. I can not understand them," said Liu.

Source: China Daily

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