* As of December 31, 2008, the number of netizens in China reached 298 million. That is a 22.6% penetration rate, which is higher than the world average. This is an increase of 88 million (41.9%) over the year 2007. The number of Chinese netizens is still rapidly increasing.
* The number of broadband-using netizens reached 270 million, which is 90.6% of the total.
* The number of netizens that access the internet via mobile phones reached 117.6 million, which is a 133% increase over 2007.
* The number of rural netizens has increased rapidly to a total of 84.6 million people. That is an increase of 60.8% over 2007 and a much faster rate of increase than for urban netizens (35.6%).
* Of the Eastern, Central and Western districts of my country, the number of netizens of provinces in the Western district increased the fastest with a rate of 52%. This is much greater than the Central district (40.6%) and Eastern district (39.3%).
* The fundamental internet resources of China have increased rapidly, but have not increased evenly. The growth of IPv4 addresses has not kept up with the increase in netizens for the past 2 years. If the growth of IPv4 addresses continues to trail the increase in netizens it will become a bottleneck for China’s internet development.
* The growth rate of the number of .cn domains and websites under .cn domains passed the overall growth rate of websites and domains, becoming an important force in stimulating the growth of China’s internet resources.
* Online news rapidly developed in 2008. The usage rate of online news increased 5% in comparison to last year and the number of total readers of online news reached 234 million. The internet has already become a non-ignorable outlet for influencing public opinion.
* As an important application for user-created content, blogs have maintained a rapid growth rate since they first appeared. As of 2008, the number of Chinese bloggers has already reached 162 million.
* Of all the internet applications, online gaming ranks number six. For primary and secondary school students (grade 1-12), online gaming ranks number three. Online gaming is an important application for them.
* The three largest applications for university students are: online music, instant messaging, and online news. For university students, online news fell down one rank and online video rose one to take up the fourth spot.
* The following 3 user classes and seven groups can be made by combining the number of internet applications used and the amount of time spent online.
1) Heavy users: they use the internet far more both in regards to the time spent online and the amount of applications they use.
– Internet-dependent group: this group accounts for almost 11% of the total number of netizens. The most loyal users of the internet, they use more internet applications and spend the most time online each week.
– Internet business group: with 6.7% of the total number of netizens, it is the smallest group. They are fairly similar to the internet-dependent group but spend much less time online and use far fewer applications. One of the biggest differences is that they almost never use forums. Their use of e-commerce, online trading and travel booking applications clearly outstrips their use of search engines, instant messaging, email and other fundamental applications.
– Online social group: this group accounts for 12.3% of total netizens. Their use of social applications is clearly higher than the other groups. Their usage of instant messaging, blogs, forums, friend-finding websitest1 and other social-type internet applications is clearly on the high side.
* Intermediate users: intermediate users are about average with respect to the number of internet applications they use and the time they spend online. Judged by the number of internet applications used, some users of this group are in a transition phase between moving from the light usage group to the heavy usage group.
– Fundamental usage group: this group has grown to be the largest group and accounts for 21.5% of the total users. Their usage of search engines, email, instant messaging and other fundamental internet applications is far greater than average. However, their usage of other internet applications is clearly on the low side.
* Light users: they are far below the average both in regards to the number of applications used and the amount of time spent online. They have also been using the internet for the shortest time.
– Self-display group: this group accounts for 12.6%. 100% of them use blogs, but their usage of other applications is clearly below average. This group uses an average of 5.3 applications and spends an average of 12.27 hours online per week.
– Alternative online gaming group: 100% of users in this group play online games. They account for almost 18% of the total number of netizens. Besides video games, this group’s usage of other online applications is far below average.
– Beginning users: this group accounts for 18.2%, which is almost as large as the fundamental user group. This group does not have any outstanding characteristics with regards to usage of internet applications. They spend the least time online and use the fewest internet applications. They have also been using the internet for the shortest amount of time. They are the oldest with an average age of 33. This group shows how the number of older netizens is expanding.
* Research on netizen lifestyle shows: the more heavy users there are, the higher the approval rate of the value of the internet as a life assistant and the higher the rate of trust and safety; another non-ignorable point is that the more heavy users there are, the higher the recognition that the internet may cause social isolation.