China’s online population continues to grow rapidly.

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China’s Internet population reached 591 million by the end of June, fuelled by a booming mobile Internet user base, according to the China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC), a government-authorised Internet research organization based in Beijing. More than 70 per cent of the new users accessed the Internet via smartphones or other wireless devices. These users are already accustomed to services like instant messaging such as Tencent’s WeChat and payment modes like Alibaba’s Alipay on handsets. CNNIC publishes China’s Internet development report twice a year, which is regarded as an authoritative review of the online developments in the country.

By the end of June, China had 591 million Internet users, around 10 per cent growth from a year ago, and indicating that 44.1 per cent of the country’s population uses the web. The Internet penetration rate was 2 percentage points more from the end of last year.The growing web applications were online music, video, games and literature, according to CNNIC.

The number of Mobile Internet users reached 464 million by June, 78.5 per cent of the total Internet users, compared with 72.2 per cent a year ago. Mobile Internet has become new economy development engine with an increasing number of users and latest innovation, according to Analysys International, a Beijing-based research firm.

GSMA, a global mobile communications industry association, said last month that by 2017, the Asia Pacific region will have 1.9 billion mobile subscribers, accounting for almost half of the predicted global total of 3.9 billion. The popularity of smartphones and wider coverage of the 3G network, will continue to boost the user base of mobile Internet, CNNIC added.

At the end of 2012 China’s total e-commerce, including C2C and B2C e-sales,, reached €162.8bn, up 65% to 2011. The share of B2C e-commerce excluding services, was 29,8% or €48,5br, up 112% compared to 2011. With respect to total B2C e-sales, China ranked fourth after the USA, the UK and Japan, but is expected to take second place after the USA at the end of 2013. The share of B2C e-commerce in China (1,9% compared to 1% in 2011) is still relatively low compared to for instance the UK and the USA.

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Source: CNNIC, iResearch, Shanghai Daily, Ecommerce Europe research.

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