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BizReport : Internet : January 25, 2017

95% of Internet users in China access via mobile

The number of people in China with access to the Internet rose to 731 million in 2016, as ecommerce drives consumer demand.

by Helen Leggatt

More than half (53.2%) of people in China went online in 2016 - that's 731 million out of a population of around 1.4 billion - a record high. Last year, 42.99 million new Internet users were added, according to a report from the China Internet Network Information Center.

The bulk of new Internet users are those who access through their mobile phones. In fact, a whopping 95.1% of all Internet users in China did so via their mobile device in 2016, up from 90% the previous year. During the past year, the number of people in China who used a mobile device to make payments rose by 31.2% from the previous year to 469 million, or 67.5%, and half of all internet users in the country pay for goods in physical stores with their mobile devices.

The most popular app in China is WeChat with 80% of the country's online population using it on a regular basis. This is followed by Tencent's QQ, Alibaba's Taobao, Baidu Inc's mobile app and Alipay. The expansion of Internet coverage has also helped improve people's living standards and boost e-commerce, says the report, citing the number of Chinese who ordered takeaway online had reached 209 million as of December 2016, an 83.7% YoY increase.

Despite China having the world's largest online population, the country still lags in terms of penetration. In other Asia-Pacific countries, such as Japan and South Korea, penetration is 91% and 86% respectively.

Tags: China, Internet, mobile

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