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Tuesday, 23 April, 2002, 07:21 GMT 08:21 UK
China's home web use soars
Chinese models show off the latest laptops from Chinese computer manufacturer Jing Dong Fang outside a computer shopping mall in Beijing
China's huge population is warming to the net
China has moved into second place in the number of people logging on to the internet from home, according to a study.

According to Nielsen/NetRatings, China is now second only to the United States in the number of home internet users.

Nearly 57 million people in China have web access at home, the report said.

Home web users
1. US: 166m
2. China: 57m
3. Japan: 51m
4. Germany: 32m
5. UK: 29m
Earlier this year, Beijing officials said China had a total of 33 million people online, a nearly 50% increase on the previous year.

The new figure, released in the US on Monday, says that just over 5% of China's more than one billion people can reach the internet from home.

'Staggering' potential

A far higher percentage of people are logging on from homes in Japan, Germany and the UK, but China's population outweighs the overall figures in those countries. The US has the world's most home users, with 166 million people logging on at home.

Nielsen/NetRatings says internet subscriptions in China are growing by 5-6% every month and in just three or four years 25% of the population could have internet access. That is more than 250 million people.

"The potential is staggering," said Nielsen/NetRatings managing director Hugh Bloch.

After China, Japan has the world's third largest number of home users - 51.3 million people, followed by Germany (32.2 million) and the UK (29 million), the report said.

The survey found that a typical web user in China is male, aged 16 to 34.

More than half of those surveyed said home was their preferred place to log on, followed by internet cafes (27%) and work (24%).

The survey randomly interviewed 1,000 households in mainland China with fixed telephone lines.

China is keen to promote the growth of the internet for business in China and plans to spend $120bn to develop its telecoms and information technology industries over the next five years.

But it also tries to maintain strict control over what its citizens read on the net, blocking access to certain internet domains such as bbc.co.uk.

See also:

05 Apr 02 | Asia-Pacific
China honours dead on the web
18 Mar 02 | Business
EBay moves into China
21 Feb 02 | Business
Chinadotcom narrows losses
11 Feb 02 | Sci/Tech
China net use soars
26 Jul 01 | Asia-Pacific
China's net generation
20 Jul 01 | Asia-Pacific
China acts on net 'addicts'
06 Aug 01 | Sci/Tech
Asia-Pacific net surge forecast
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