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Last Updated: Tuesday, 28 June, 2005, 14:38 GMT 15:38 UK
100 million go online in China
Chinese internet cafe
Millions of Chinese go online via internet cafes
The number of internet users in China has risen above 100 million for the first time, according to reports in the country's state media.

Only the US now has more web surfers as young and old Chinese take to the internet in record numbers.

The figure is expected to grow rapidly in the next few years.

China's economic boom is behind the dramatic rise as increasing personal wealth means more people are able to buy computers and go online.

Great Firewall

But the Chinese authorities are less in love with the net. The government regularly tries to block access to material it considers pornographic or politically subversive.

Only last week, the authorities threatened to shut down websites and blogs that failed to register with regulators in a new campaign to tighten controls on what the public can see online.

The so-called Great Firewall of China is constantly being breached as citizens and the authorities play a cat and mouse game with the flow of information.

Of the 100 million net users, about 30 million have broadband.

Mobile phone usage is also on the rise, gaining about 60 million new users each year.

There are now 358 million mobile phone users in China and it makes up 44.6% of China's telecom business.

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