Technology Feb 03

China hails its ‘netizens’ as internet user numbers approach 1 billion 

Some of the country’s more rural areas may still lag behind in the home tech revolution but nevertheless millions more Chinese went online last year with over 70% of its population now using the net 

China hails its ‘netizens’ as internet user numbers approach 1 billion 
The main growth in internet use in China has been among the young and the elderly.

(ATF) The number of internet users in China has reached nearly 1 billion prompting the government to hail its ‘netizen’ generation.

The figures, released by the China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC) on Wednesday, showed that as of December the number of internet users in China was now 989 million, an increase of 85.4 million from March 2020. The internet penetration rate has reached 70.4%, an increase of 5.9 percentage points from March 2020.

Also, the number of mobile internet users has reached 986 million, an increase of 88.85 million from March 2020, and the proportion of internet users using mobile phones to access the internet reached 99.7%.

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Zhang Xiao, deputy director of the CNNIC, said that thanks to continuous advancements more and more people can enjoy the convenience brought by the internet, and that China now has the world's largest group of ‘netizens’.

It is worth noting that the number of non-netizens in China is 416 million, a decrease of 80.73 million from March 2020. But the proportion of non-netizens in rural areas is 62.7%, which is 23.3 percentage points higher than the proportion of the national rural population.

A lack of skills, limited education, age and insufficient tech are the main reasons why some do not go online. 

The proportion of non-netizens who do not go online because they don’t have contact with computers – and illiteracy also plays a role here – is 51.5%. The proportion of non-netizens who do not go online because they do not understand Pinyin – writing Chinese in the western alphabet – and other cultural restrictions is 21.9%.

RURAL AND URBAN

As of December 2020, the number of rural internet users was 309 million, accounting for 31.3% of total internet users, an increase of 54.71 million compared with March 2020. The number of urban internet users was 680 million, accounting for 68.7% of total internet users, an increase from March 2020 of 30.69 million.

In terms of income, the proportion of netizens with a monthly income of 2001 to 5000 yuan is 32.7%; the proportion of netizens with a monthly income of 5000 yuan or more is 29.3% and the proportion of netizens with a monthly income of 1000 yuan or less Is 15.3%.

In terms of education, the proportions of netizens with junior high school, high school/secondary school/technical school degrees are 40.3% and 20.6% respectively; the proportion of netizens with elementary school and below increased from 17.2% in March 2020 to 19.3%.

Zhang Xiao said that the main growth in internet use has been among the young and the elderly. As of December 2020, China had nearly 260 million "silver internet users" (over 50 years old) and 160 million users under 20 years old.

ONLINE TIME

Among these netizens, the average online time per person was 26.2 hours per week, 4.6 hours less than in March 2020. 

The report also shows that Chinese netizens like to play short videos. As of December 2020, the number of online video users has reached 927 million, an increase of 76.33 million from March 2020, accounting for 93.7% of total users. 

In addition, games have a heavy "weight" in the hearts of netizens. As of December 2020, the number of online game users reached 518 million, a decrease of 13.89 million from March 2020, accounting for 52.4% of the total netizens, downloading 5.16 billion games.

The data shows that in 2020, the actual sales revenue of the game market was 278.687 billion yuan, an increase of 47.81 billion yuan from 2019, a year-on-year increase of 20.71%. Among the number of apps monitored in the domestic market, the number of game apps reached 887,000, accounting for 25.7% of the total number of apps.

EXPLOSIVE GROWTH

It is worth noting that in the first half of the year, affected by the epidemic, the telecommuting market showed explosive growth. As of December, the number of remote office users in China reached 346 million, an increase of 147 million from June 2020, accounting for 34.9% of the total net users.

Fields such as online healthcare are also growing rapidly. CNNIC Director Zeng Yu said that public service applications such as online education and online medical services continue to emerge, promoting the extension of high-quality public resources to impoverished and remote areas, promoting the coordinated development of netizens across the country and sharing the fruits of internet development.

And despite the epidemic, as of December, the number of online travel booking users in the country reached 342 million, a decrease of 30.52 million from March 2020, and an increase of 55.96 million from June 2020, accounting for 34.6% of the total internet users.

CAR-HAILING

In addition, sectors like online shopping, live broadcasting, food delivery, and online car-hailing maintained rapid growth. As of December 2020, the number of online shopping users in China reached 782 million, an increase of 72.15 million from March 2020, accounting for 79.1% of the total users. 

The number of online food delivery users reached 419 million, an increase of 21.03 million from March 2020, accounting for 42.3% of the total netizens.

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