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how many internet users does the china have?
There were 939.8 million internet users in China in January 2021.
The number of internet users in China increased by 85 million (+10.0%) between 2020 and 2021.
Internet penetration in China stood at 65.2% in January 2021.
Note: we no longer include data sourced from social media platforms in our internet user numbers, so the numbers shown above and in our complete Digital 2021 reports are not comparable with numbers published in our reports from previous years.
The China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC), a government agency, said on Wednesday that at the end of December 2020, the country had 989 million internet users, a jump of 85.4 million from March, suggesting the pandemic forced tens of millions trapped at home into new habits, including shopping online.
Some 782 million Chinese now use the internet, primarily on mobile phones, to shop, a 72.15 million increase from March when the pandemic erupted, according to CNNIC.
The number of Chinese working remotely surged to 346 million in December from about 199 million from June.
China had a population of 1.44 billion in January 2021.
China’s population increased by 5.2 million (+0.4%) between January 2020 and January 2021.
48.7% of China’s population is female, while 51.3% of its population is male [note: the United Nations does not publish data for genders other than ‘female’ and ‘male’].
61.9% of China’s population lives in urban centres, while 38.1% lives in rural areas.
Number of internet users in China 2015-2026
China is home to the largest online community in the world. According to estimates, the Chinese internet population was around 971 million in 2020 and would surge up to 1.29 billion by 2026. By comparison, the internet user-base of the United States was around 281 million in 2019. The country’s internet penetration rate is around 64 percent, indicating that two out of five Chinese are still offline.
Affordable smartphones play an important role in China’s rising internet population. In 2019, over 90 percentof Chinese people accessed the internet through mobile phones. Messaging, watching videos, and listening to music are popular activities. In fact, Chinese mobile users spent over 70 percent of their daily time online. Out of the 600 million customers using online payment modes, 580 million preferred using mobile payment services. This large and engaged mobile internet population has provided a wide range of opportunities to hi-tech companies in China, including online dating and matchmaking business.
As of March 2020, around 28 percent of online users were living in rural China. To provide more affordable and faster internet services, measures have been carried out in the country to reduce service rates and extend the 1,000-Megabyte broadband connection to over 300 cities. In 2019, the government announced to roll out 5G networks in Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, and other major cities. The technology advancement would likely enhance internet accessibility in rural areas, further increasing the country’s internet user base.
More people watch short videos than shop online
As significant the growth was in online shoppers, video watching jumped even more — by 76.33 million over nine months — to 927 million in December.
That means nearly 94% of all Chinese internet users watched online videos, far more than the 79% who shopped online.
Short video users alone climbed by 100 million from March to 873 million at the end of the year.
Livestreaming e-commerce users also surged, up by 123 million from March to 388 million in December. About two-thirds of these users have made a purchase while watching a livestream, the report said.
Online health care users drop
While learning and getting health consultations online saw significant growth during the coronavirus outbreak, usage dropped by December.
Online education users stood at 342 million, down by 81.25 million from March’s 423 million total.
Online health-care users fell to 215 million, down from the 276 million the agency had reported for June. March figures were not available.
Wednesday’s report did note that online health care’s penetration in less developed parts of China increased from June to about one-fifth in December.
Several explanations for the internet user
There are several explanations for the internet user boost in 2020, but the main drivers were the pandemic, improvement in rural internet access, and increases in usage among older age cohorts. In brief:
- The pandemic had the same effect on behavior in China as it did everywhere else (albeit for a shorter time span, given China’s success in suppressing the virus). People spent more time indoors and had more time to explore new activities, and some of the youngest and oldest found themselves using the internet for the first time, or more regularly than they normally would have.
- Long-standing government efforts to wire rural areas started to bear fruit. In February 2021, the China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC) reported a spike in internet penetration for rural areas, an outcome propelled by the central government’s efforts to build out internet infrastructure in China’s poorer provinces and villages. According to CNNIC’s data, internet penetration among rural residents jumped from 39.8% in June 2019 to 55.9% in December 2020. The penetration among city dwellers, meanwhile, ticked up by only 4.0% in that time frame.
Several explanations for the internet user
- Major ecommerce companies, with support from policymakers, ramped up new functionalities and incentives for rural buyers and sellers. Platforms like Pinduoduo revolutionized ecommerce connectivity between rural farmers and urban consumers, generating new financial motivation for rural people to get online. Logistics support for nonagricultural ecommerce improved as well, enhancing the appeal of China’s mcommerce ecosystem for those in remote rural areas.
- Middle-aged and older cohorts jumped online at some of the fastest rates in China’s history. The number of internet users ages 65 and older grew by 38.9% last year, but they weren’t alone. The 55-to-64 age group grew by 33.1%, its fastest expansion since 2009; and even the 45-to-54 cohort (which was already well penetrated) grew by 20.6%, the fastest for that group in 10 years.
The next stage of growth will need to come from these older cohorts, as China’s population ages 12 to 44 is already online at rates comparable to those of the most connected countries in the world.
how many internet users does the china have in 2022?
China’s online population continues to grow at a healthy clip, despite the rate of expansion naturally slowing due to the now-enormous base effect. We estimate that 914.1 million people in China will be internet users in 2020, which represents 65.6% of the population. This figure should cross 975 million by 2022, even as growth rates decline from 4.5% this year to 3.1% in 2022.
China has rapidly become a nation of urbanites, and every year, fewer people live in areas deemed to be “rural.” This process is significant, because consumer access to and use of modern technology tend to rise as urbanization grows. Whether because of population transfers to existing cities or infrastructure and economic development in previously rural areas, 60.6% of China now lives in a district designated as “urban.”
Some reasons why China loves the internet
People are on the move. In 1990 only a quarter of the Chinese population lived in cities. Today, half does. This means that over 300 million people moved far away from the people with whom they grew up, and the Internet is critical to reconnecting them with their roots. This will only continue. The Chinese government plans to move 250 million rural residents into newly constructed towns and cities by 2025.
Income inequality is growing. China’s economy is growing really fast and so is inequality. For example, in 2014 there were 190 people in China who had more than a billion dollars, up from zero in 2003. Those who have grown wealthier than their peers in a short period of time want to establish relationships with others of similar economic stature, and to do that they often turn to the Internet.
Kids are lonely. The one-child policy has been around for over 30 years. Most kids grow up without siblings. They come home from school and the only people they see are their parents. They want to hang out with people their own age, so they are glued to the Internet.
Some reasons why China loves the internet
And some adults are lonely too. Due to the one-child policy there are many more men than women in China, particularly in rural areas, so competition in the marriage markets is intense and some men have to work really hard to find a spouse. The Internet offers a great opportunity to do that.
Second, people in China are drawn to the Internet because they have so many choices of engaging sites and services. Even though they cannot access Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, many blogging services, and some Google services, they can access multiple Chinese equivalents. In the U.S. people pretty much only use Facebook to interact with friends, but in China they can choose between QQZone, WeChat, Renren, and Alibaba Weixin, to name a few.
To interact with celebrities and strangers, Americans tend to go to Twitter. In China, people can choose to go to Sina Weibo and Tencent Weibo – as well as a ton of little Weibos. The same goes for social gaming – Tencent, Netease, Sina Weibo, and others provide many social games for users to play. There are also many sites for which there’s no equivalent in the U.S. For example, there are sites such as 9158.com or yy.com where you go and sing for or with other people. Such sites provide much-needed entertainment and allow people to connect with others easily.