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Monday, 11 February, 2002, 14:34 GMT
China net use soars
More Chinese women are going online
Women make up 40% of China's net population
The number of people in China using the internet has grown by almost 50% over the past year.

More than 33 million Chinese are now online, compared to 22 million in January 2001, according to the figures by the China Internet Network Information Centre.

Despite the huge growth, the number of Chinese using the internet is still less than 3% of the country's population.

"If you think about it, 33 million out of a population of 1.26 billion is a very tiny number," said senior analyst Bo Parker of PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Single professional male

The survey found that the number of computers connected to the internet increased by about 40% to 12.5 million in 2001.

China online
33 million internet users
51% are under 24 years old
45% log on from work
277,100 websites
The typical internet user was a single, male professional in his twenties.

But although the number of Chinese men on the net still outnumbers women by three to two, women are slowly catching up.

The most popular use of the internet is keeping in touch. Nine out of 10 internet users in China say e-mail is the most frequently used service.

Internet boost

When it comes to searching for information, news comes top.

This is a difficult area for China. The Beijing Government is keen to promote the growth of the internet for business in China.

It is planning 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.

"On the one hand, the Chinese Government is promoting the internet through the development of the infrastructure and capacity," said Mr Parker.

"But on the other, there are issues of controlling information and filtering it so that it is consistent with government policy."

See also:

26 Jul 01 | Asia-Pacific
China's net generation
20 Jul 01 | Asia-Pacific
China acts on net 'addicts'
18 Jul 01 | Asia-Pacific
China internet growth slows
29 Apr 01 | Media reports
China internet cafe debate hots up
06 Aug 01 | Sci/Tech
Asia-Pacific net surge forecast
01 Oct 01 | Business
China to invest $120bn in telecoms
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