China has the largest Internet population, which is at 641.6 million. According to the figures released by China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC), internet users in China rose by 2.3% in the first six months of 2014, up from the 617.6 million at the end of 2013. With a country population 1.39 billion, there is a 46.03% penetration of the number of population with the internet.
The country’s share of the World’s Internet Users is at 21.97%, followed by the United States with their country’s share of the world’s internet users at 9.58%. China numbers went down with last year’s share of the world’s internet users at 22.77%. The reason to this is that new user growth has slowed. With 2012 new users at 39.9 million, 2013 at 53.58 million, this year’s new users are only at 24.02 million. The slower growth rate is largely due to the declining smartphone sales which dropped nearly 25% compared to last year’s.
The power of mobile in China
Mobile has been the gateway to the internet, true to almost everyone around the world. In China, people accessing the internet on their mobile device surpassed those doing so with a personal computer for quite some time now. Out of the 641.6 million, 83% accessed the internet through their mobile phones, an up of 5.4% from the users accessing their internet through their mobiles phones last 2013.
The declining smartphone sales and the slower new users’ growth rate go hand-in-hand, with the number of mobile shoppers in China rising 42% from last year. Other fast growing segments of mobile internet use were mobile payment, online banking, and mobile travel booking, up by 63.4%, 56.4%, and 65.4% respectively.
But, not all segments of mobile internet use in China grew, as Weibo and its microblogging platforms Tencent and Sina have seen consecutive 6 months decreases, falling 1.9% to 275 million. Due to different crackdowns on such platforms, WeChat or WeiXin and other similar apps have become the number one choice for social media.
Quantity to Quality
Since the slower growth of new internet users in China, the theme of the Internet development in China has transformed from “increase in penetration” to “deepened degree of usage”, according to CNNIC. The State Council issued a policy indicating the role and benefits of Internet in the overall economy and society, with the internet to combine itself with the Chinese traditional economy with good applications in shopping, logistics, payment, and finance and that Internet applications should also have an impact on people’s basic necessities of life to gradually change people’s life style for the better. These said policy changes in the internet suggests strong support for the depth of usage.
Still Growing, Yet More Slowly
Even with the slower growth of new internet users in China, it is said that China’s internet population will double the whole United States’ population in two short years, according to the Boston Consulting Group (BCG). This is to be expected, as a country with a 1.39 Billion population and a government that recently gave big cities like Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou a minimum wage hike of 11.4%. Even in China’s small cities, the people are leaving regular flip phones behind for smart phones, and every time a new platform has been made, adoption rates in China have gained momentum.
Progress of Internet Basic Applications and E-business Applications
All in all, the computer and Internet applications are very satisfactory among the Chinese enterprises. With the Internet basic applications, the gap between the enterprises in East and West China narrowed, but the gap between Central China and other regions is still big. The top three ways of promotion are instant messaging, search engines, and e-business platforms, while online marketing going up the ladder for Chinese enterprises. The search behaviour of the consumer directly points to buying and the e-business platforms are very beneficial to those.