Chinese Internet users now 22.5M

The number of Internet users in China grew 33 percent in the second half of 2000 to reach 22.5 million, according to a twice-yearly report released Wednesday by the official China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC), the Xinhua News Service reported Thursday.

          The number of Internet users in China grew 33 percent in the second half of 2000 to reach 22.5 million, according to a twice-yearly report released Wednesday by the official China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC), the Xinhua News Service reported Thursday.

          The growth rate was considerably lower than that reported by CNNIC after a survey in June 2000, which reported six-month growth of 89.8 percent in the number of users.

          After disappointing revenue figures in 2000, some industry participants have become less hopeful about the prospects for profitable advertising-based Internet businesses in China, and the growth of e-commerce in the world's most populous country is hampered by problems including limited ownership of credit cards. Following China's accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO), expected early this year, foreign countries are set to have their first opportunity to participate in the country's Internet industry.

          According to the survey, most users -- 15.4 million -- use dial-up access, the Xinhua report said. A majority of Internet users in the country are less than 24 years old, and the percentage of female users has increased to 30.4 percent. The total number of computers connected to the Net is now 8.9 million, according to the report.

          China's leading city in numbers of Internet users is the capital, Beijing, followed by the southern city of Guangzhou and Shanghai.

          CNNIC's survey is conducted twice a year using online and off-line questionnaires. It covers only the mainland of China and not the Special Administrative Regions of Hong Kong or Macau.

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