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Last Updated: Thursday, 17 November 2005, 15:21 GMT
China 'yet to embrace e-commerce'
Chinese web users
More Chinese are online but most are not buying anything
Chinese internet users are wary of buying products online, a survey of Chinese internet habits has revealed.

More than 75% of those questioned by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences said they had never purchased anything online. Only 10% bought regularly.

While internet usage is developing rapidly in China, growth in e-commerce has been much slower.

The survey also found that one-third of internet users do not use e-mail, preferring instant messaging instead.

Young and male

The research - the third survey of Chinese internet use since 2000 - revealed that web users are predominantly male, under 25, well-educated and wealthier than average.

Many people do not trust the quality of goods bought online
Guo Liang, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences

China now has more than 100 million internet users, making it the second largest internet market after the United States.

The battle for eyeballs has intensified with a host of internet firms - including Google, Yahoo, eBay and domestic portal Baidu - striving to exploit the expanding market.

The Chinese Academy, the government's main think-tank, said that while internet usage had mushroomed, overall penetration was still limited.

Less than 8% of the population have access to the internet while less than 50% of urban dwellers are internet users.


The latest research suggests that most Chinese are not yet comfortable buying goods online.

"Many people do not trust the quality of goods bought online," said Guo Liang, the report's author.

"If they buy it in a store and don't like it, they can easily bring it back."

Most of the 2,300 people questioned in the survey said they used the internet to access news and for online games.

The survey covered internet users in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu and Ghangsha.

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