Mobile Phone Has Become No. 1 Internet Access Terminal in China

In China, many factors influence the way people access internet. Long commuting time in the metro, remote working from cafes and tea rooms, availability of mobile devices like the Samsung, Apple and other’s tablets, and so on. According to Swee Lynn, from WPP, “the development path of Internet usage in lower-tier markets is markedly different from that of upper-tiers, typically from PC to laptops to mobile phones. More and more lower-tier consumers have skipped the first two platforms to go straight to smartphones, forming a sizable base for marketers to reach them.”

Main mobile activities with higher usage evident among ages 15-to-45.

Instant-messaging (83%) and searching (67%) as the top mobile activities, followed by news-browsing (58%) and Weibo-posting (43%).

The summary below gives you the key findings about mobile usage in China. Abstract from the China Internet Network Communication Center (CNNIC)


- China has had 538 million Internet users and the Internet penetration rate has reached 39.9% by the end of June 2012. The first half of 2012 witnessed an increase of 24.5 million Internet users, with the Internet penetration rate up 1.6%.

- By the end of June 2012, the number of mobile Internet users in China has reached 388 million, an increase of 32.7 million over the end of 2011.

- By the end of June 2012, China has had 146 million rural Internet users, increasing by 14.64 million over the end of 2011.

- In the first half of 2012, Internet surfers using desktop computers accounted for 70.7% of the total, 2.7% less than that in the second half of 2011 while the percentage of mobile Internet users increased to 72.2%, surpassing that of desktop users.

- The number of Internet users who surf online in Internet bars continued to decline in the first half of 2012, accounting for 25.8% of the total, down by 2.1% over the second half of 2011.

- On the average the weekly time spent online by Chinese internet users increased from 18.7 hours in the second half of 2011 to 19.9 hours in the first half of 2012.

- The percentage of Internet users with an education of junior high school, elementary school or below is increasing, The ratio of Internet users with junior high school education sees a significant growth, which indicates that Internet has a higher penetration rate among this group of people.

- By the end of June 2012, China has had 330 million IPv4 addresses and 12,499 blocks/32 of IPv6 addresses.

- By the end of June 2012, China has had 8.73 million domain names, among which those with “.cn” number 3.98 million; the total number of websites has risen to 2.50 million.

2. Features and Trends

- Mobile phone has become No. 1 Internet access terminal in China

Internet access modes present a new pattern in China. In the first half of 2012, the number of Internet users using mobile phones to access the Internet reached 388 million while that of desktop users was 380 million. Mobile phone has become the Internet access terminal with the greatest number of Internet users in the country.

- A Robust growth in the number of mobile online video users

The number of online video users continued to grow steadily, and about 2.5 million more people watched online videos in the first half of 2012. The number of mobile video users increased even more robustly, exceeding 100 million. The percentage of mobile video users in the mobile Internet users has increased from 22.5% in the end of 2011 to 27.7%.

- The number of Microblog users registers stable increase and that of mobile microblog users sees rapid growth

By the end of June 2012, the penetration rate of microblog has exceeded 50% while the growth rate of microblog users has decreased to below 10%. However, the growth of mobile microblog users is still remarkable, from 137 million at the end of 2011 to 170 million, up 24.2%.

- The number of online shoppers records steady increase

At the end of June 2012, online shoppers numbered 210 million, up 8.2% over the end of 2011, accounting for 39.0% of all Internet users. The growth of online shoppers has become steady ever since 2011. The development of future online shopping depends not only on expansion of the body of online shoppers, but also on the improvement of consumption intensity.

- E-bank and online payment witness accelerated growth

The number of E-bank users and online payment users grew by 14.8% and 12.3% respectively in the first half of 2012. By the end of June 2012, such users numbered 191 million and 187 million respectively. Mobile online payment has developed at a prominently rapid speed, and by the end of June 2012, the number of such service users has reached 44.4 million with an increase of around 1.4 million over the end of 2011.

- IPv6 addresses grew substantially, ranking the third globally

By the end of June 2012, China has had 12,499 blocks/32 of IPv6 addresses, up 33.0% over the end of the previous year, and our global ranking in this regard has jumped from the 15th at the end of June 2011 to the third. All global IPv4 addresses had been allocated by February 2011, so there has been almost no change in the number of our IPv4 addresses ever since 2011. The current expansion of IP addresses concerns IPv6.

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