Backgrounder: Internet development in China

China's Internet has seen rapid progress in both technology and expansion of users since it officially gained connection to the international network 16 years ago. Following are the key facts about China's Internet development:

In April 1994, China achieved its full-functional connection to the Internet by opening a 64 kbps international dedicated line to the Internet, and was then officially recognized as a country with full functional Internet accessibility.

In May of the same year, China's first web server and the first set of web pages were launched by a research institute under Chinese Academy of Sciences, presenting a wide range of information about China including news, economies, technologies, culture and business.

By October 1997, when the first Statistical Report on the China's Internet Development was released by China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC), China had a total of 620,000 Internet users, most of whom obtained their access to the Internet through dial-up services.

Twelve years later, by the end of 2009, the number of Chinese Internet users had reached 384 million, covering 28.9 percent of the total population, according to the 25th Statistical Report on China's Internet Development.

By 2009, China's broadband users totaled 346 million, accounting for 90.1 percent of all users, said the report.

Mobile Internet users reached 233 million, or 60.8 percent of the total users. The number of rural Internet users was 106.81 million, or 27.8 percent of the total.

A total of 16.82 million domain names had been registered as of the end of 2009, 80 percent of which are CN domain names. The number of Chinese websites was 3.23 million, it said.

China's Internet users spent an average of 18.7 hours online per week, while in 1997, up to 53.6 percent of the total users spent less than five hours online in a week.

By the end of 2009, the proportion of male Internet users to female users in China had been 54.2 to 45.8, while users aged 30 or above accounted for 38.5 percent of the total.

The number of China's teenage Internet users and the ones younger than ten accounted for 31.8 percent and 1.1 percent of the total users, respectively, said the 25th report.  

                                                                    Updated: Feb. 27, 2010

Source: Xinhua