The total number of internet users in China has crossed the 800 million mark and covers 57.7% of the country’s total population, the 42nd Statistical Report on the “Development of China's Internet Network” has revealed.
Compiled by China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC), the findings provide interesting insights into the trends among internet users in the country between the end of 2017 and H1 2018.
Netizens on the rise
The country now boasts 802 million internet users, of which 788 million are mobile internet users. About 29.68 million new users were added in H1 2018. Among them, netizens under the age of 10, account for 3.6% of the total figure, the report says.
However, there has been a decline of 4.1% and 1.3% in the number of internet users on desktops and laptops. Those users occupy 48.9% and 34.5% of the pie respectively.
Rural internet users have also increased by 2,040,000 to around 211 million in the first half of 2018. Urban netizens account for 72.7% of the urban population while rural netizens account for 36.5% of the rural population.
The growth of short video platforms
According to CNNIC, the demand for online entertainment was on the rise in the first half of 2018. Corresponding policies, therefore, have been introduced to encourage the stable development of internet-based entertainment.
It is worth noting that short video platforms are booming. The data shows that 74.1% Chinese netizens use short video apps to meet their fragmented entertainment needs.
Internet-based payment continues to thrive
As of June 2018, both online buyers and online payment users in China accounted for 71% of all netizens.
The number of online shoppers has gone up from 37.83 million to 569 million between the end of 2017 and June 2018, with a half-yearly growth rate of 7.1%. The number of mobile payment users has risen 7.4% to 566 million, which accounts for 71.9% of mobile phone netizens.
WeChat Pay and Alipay account for 95.6% and 78.1% of the payment platforms. At the macro level, e-commerce, social apps, and digital content have been integrated, forming a social e-commerce model in China. At the micro level, most Chinese payment institutions now have access to the network, which has improved the penetration of online payment.
In H1 2018, 30.6% Chinese netizens have used bike-sharing apps, an 11.0% growth compared to 2017-end. At the same time, 43.2% and 37.3% internet users have used taxi-hailing apps and car-reservation apps respectively, which represents an increase of 20.8% and 26.5%.
60% of Chinese netizens use online government services
According to the report, 470 million netizens are users of online government services as of June 2018, accounting for 58.6% of the total Chinese internet users. Among them, 42.1% netizens approach the government services via Alipay or WeChat.
From the beginning of 2018, the Chinese government has actively enacted policies, opened various information channels, and established integrated online platforms to promote government services.
The total number of government websites stands at 19,868 by June 30.
Users for wealth-management rise considerably
The report states that number of netizens using online wealth-management services has climbed from 16.7% to 21% in the first half of this year while their total number has increased 30.9% to 39.74 million.
The Chinese wealth-management market has been heading towards healthy development since new policies broke down the previous rigid payment methods in wealth-management business, which reduced financial institutions’ risks and reinforced regulations for Peer-to-Peer (P2P) lending platforms.
Resources increase steadily
The report shows that as of June 2018, the number of Internet Protocol Version 6 (IPV6) addresses in China has increased 0.53% to 23,555 within six months. China’s operators are able to support IPv6 at the network level, promoting the transition from network capability to the application.
China's international export bandwidth is 8,826,302 Mbps, a 20.6% rise from the end of 2017. Chinese Internet users enjoy a higher Internet speed. The quality of Internet connection and cross-border roaming calls are better.
Meanwhile, both mobile Internet traffic and the number of apps have achieved significant growth in the first half of 2018.
Science and technology have progressed significantly
The CNNIC report suggests that in the first half of 2018, China has seen rapid development in quantum information technology, worldwide communications, brain-like computers, artificial intelligence, supercomputers, and the industrial internet.
In terms of quantum information technology, China now focuses on quantum chips, quantum programming, quantum software, among others. The process of creating integrated worldwide information networks is accelerated. Further, brain-like computing chips with independent intellectual property rights have debuted in the Chinese market.
Artificial intelligence has been utilized in online and offline stores, early childhood education, eldercare, housework, medical health, and investment risk management.
(Yun Nie is a New York-based tech reporter. She focuses on India-China financial market, global IT giants and technology-centric market trends. She can be reached at Yunnie@thepassage.cc.)