China Leapfrogs U.S. Online

Dennis Faas's picture

Still not sure that China has become a rising technological giant? Perhaps recent news that the Asian country has officially passed the United States in the number of online users will convince you otherwise.

Granted, we've been aware of China's massive population for a very long time. The country boasts some 1.3 billion citizens, and although it struggled to establish an economy on par with the United States or Britain during the twentieth century, by the turn of the 21st it had clearly arrived amongst the world's economic (and military) super powers. For a good look at China's export potential, simply take a stroll down American retail favorite Wal-Mart's aisles. (Source:

Though its population clearly dwarfs that of the United States, only recently has China's online base passed the US of A. Recent reports find that the country's total online users now sits around 233 million (as of late March). That's an increase of 23 million from 2007, enough to leapfrog the US (in the 220 million range). (Source:

According to estimates from BDA China, a Beijing research group, China's world wide web population continues to climb at a mind-blowing rate. Total growth is pegged at about 53%, still just a fraction of China's citizen reservoir. Only 17% of China's billion-plus population are online, even now.

Duncan Clark, chairman at BDA, links China's exploding Internet usage with its expanding economy.

And yet, though the Chinese now match the number of US online users, freedom is another issue. Though Americans are by no means allowed to browse any website they like, China's communist government "continues to filter the Net and encourage self-censorship," Clark said. (Source:

Freedom must cost money, however. Clark cites the Chinese government's $10/month broadband service as a major reason for the country's online movement.

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