China has surged past the United States in its total number of Internet users, knocking America off the Number One pole position it's held for nearly 40 years.
According to a new report released by Chinese research house BDA, because of the disparate size of the two countries' populations, the United States is unlikely to ever catch up.
China's online population passed 228 million as of the end of last month, BDA estimates; to come up with that number, BDA cites figures from the China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC) saying that, at the end of last year, there were 210 million Chinese Internet users. That represents an increase of 73 million (53.3 percent) compared with usage at the end of 2006. In comparison, BDA points to Nielsen/NetRatings estimates that put the U.S. Internet population at 216 million at the end of 2007 and growing at a far slower pace.
Click here to see full article
"Based on these sources and the assumption that these markets have continued to grow in 2008 to date at the same rates that they grew in 2007, we can conclude that China has by now comfortably surpassed the United States as the world's largest Internet population," says Bin Liu, BDA's Beijing-based principal analyst for new media. "In fact, China has been chasing the United States for first place in terms of total number of Internet users ever since the end of 2002, when it had moved in second place in the world with a total of 59.1 million users, according to the CNNIC, or fewer than the number it's now adding each year."
Adds BDA Chairman Duncan Clark, "With some 560 million subscriptions, China has been home to the world's largest mobile-communications user base for several years. Now it adds Internet users to its gold-medal collection. While the volume of communications users will continue to boom, the focus now in China will increasingly shift to deriving greater value from these consumers. Over time, BDA expects China to emerge as part of an Asian 'New California' where - together with highly developed Asian markets such as Japan and South Korea - innovative applications and companies help shape consumer trends globally."