The number of people using the internet in China rose by 10% last year to 564m last year, with 75% of those having access via mobile devices, according to new figures. The data, from the China Internet Network Information Centre, found that the number of Chinese web users who logged onto the internet from mobile devices, including phones and tablets, rose by 18.1% to 420 million in 2012. The rise comes despite the introduction of tighter content rules by Communist leaders, and means that 42.1% of the total Chinese population has internet access during 2012.
The Chinese government encourages use of the internet for business or education, but blocks access to content believed to encourage disloyalty to the ruling party.
Access to overseas websites, such as Facebook and Twitter, is also blocked through what has become known as the “Great Firewall of China”.
Only last month, the Communist Party enforced a law requiring all internet users to disclose their identity while online.
Weibo, China’s equivalent to Twitter, has more than 300 million users and the use of virtual private networks (VPNs) to bypass blocks on overseas websites remains popular in the country.
Desktop computer usage fell by almost 3 percentage points in 2012, settling at 70.6 percent of users, while laptop users also dropped to 45.9 percent. Meanwhile, mobile usage grew to 74.5 percent, up from 69.3 percent.
Microblogging users jumped up in 2012, with 309 million at the end of the year, up 58.73 million from 2011.
Ecommerce also improved, as there were 242 million online shoppers in the country.
The Chinese government projected earlier this month that the country’s Internet population will soar to 800 million users in 2015.
Source: China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC)