Internet penetration rate in China reaches 50% – surpassing the US as the largest e-commerce market

China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC) has released its 37th Statistical Report on Internet Development in China. According to this report, from December 2015, China got 688 million Internet users, which represents half of its total population, with an Internet penetration rate of 50.3%. While in 2005, the same rate was 8.5%.

See the CNNIC Report here: Statistical Report on Internet Development in China

This 50.3% rate of Internet penetration in China can be considered low in comparison to 92.3% in South Korea, 91.6% in the UK, 90.6% in Japan, 87.4 % in the US, 88.4% in Germany and 83.8% in France. At the bottom of the scale, Internet penetration in Africa is very low, reaching only 28.6%. (South Africa is 49%, while Kenya has the highest penetration rate in Africa at 69.6%).

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Mobile devices as an internet access point

According to CNNIC’s latest report, mobile phones are becoming a very important way of having access to Internet in China, and the main factor in the growth rate of Internet users. In December 2015, the number of mobile Internet users in China reached 620 million, and 90.1% of them have used mobile phones to access the Internet.

This does not mean that all these people are using mobile phones to access the Internet, but mobile phones have become one of the main ways to connect to Internet.

One of the factors that helped boost Internet penetration in China is the development of “Smart Cities” and “Wireless Cities”: public Internet access in major Chinese cities. 91.8% of Chinese internauts are now able to get on Internet via Wi-Fi, an 8.6% increase compared to June 2015. WeChat has been a major beneficiary.

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Online payment: 358 million mobile users

In addition, in December 2015, the number of mobile users making online purchases in China reached 358 million, with an annual growth rate of 64.5%. The mobile payment utilization rates online increased from 39% in late 2014 to 57.7% by the end of 2015. Moreover, the growing number of Internet users has enabled the development of a wide range of mobile applications. For instance, in 2015, 110 million Chinese internauts received an online training, 152 other million received medical services online, and 96 other million called a cab via these applications.

Read here why china’s mobile payments market attract major players.

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E-commerce sales in China exceed $ 673 billion

China has easily overtaken the United States as the largest e-commerce in the world, driven by its youngest citizens. For instance, in 2015 e-commerce sales in China were estimated at $673 billion. In 2015, e-commerce spending in China was estimated around 15.9% of total retail sales, with a net boost of m-commerce. By comparison, e-commerce sales in the United States totalized $ 347.3 billion in 2015, representing 8% of total retail sales.

The rapid growth of e-commerce in China is yet another example of the country’s ability to switch from an investment economy to a more balanced economy in favor of consumption.

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