BEIJING Jan 15 China's population of Internet
users jumped by nearly a third to 384 million at the end of
last year, an official report showed on Friday, days after
Google threatened to retreat from the expanding market.
The report from the state China Internet Network
Information Center (www.cnnic.net.cn) underscored the growing
scope of the Internet in the country, which Google said it may
quit because of censorship and hacking. [ID:nSGE60C01H]
Throughout 2009, the number of Chinese Internet users grew
by 86 million -- more than the total population of Germany --
or a rise of 28.9 percent compared to the end of 2008.
The survey, based on a count of residents who said they
used the Internet in the past six months, found 29 percent of
China's 1.3 billion people are now net users.
The numbers establish China's position as the world's
largest online community, more than the entire population of
the United States.
"Although the rate of (Internet) participation continues to
rise, compared to developed countries, China's rate of Internet
participation remains quite low," said the report.
By contrast, 74 percent of Americans use the Internet and
77 percent of South Koreans, it said.
China's rate of growth in Internet users slowed compared
with 2008, when the number grew by 41.9 percent. In 2002, China
had 59 million users.
With China's expanding 3G mobile network, more than 120
million people used mobile Internet applications, said the
The number of people using the Internet to book travel,
bank and carry out other commerce grew by 68 percent
(Reporting by Chris Buckley; Editing by Ken Wills and Sugita