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China Internet Development Information Compiled

by Fred Fortin

The growth of the Internet in China is, and will be, a significant force for health care development in the country. So I thought I would put together a short compilation of some history as well as facts and statistics on this amazing social and technical phenomenon. This information was gleaned from a series of articles thanks to Beijing Review.com (here, here, here and here) and a few other sources (here, here and here).

First a brief China Internet history (Excerpted from Beijing Review.Com):

  • In September 1987, with the support of a scientific research group led by Professor Werner Zorn, of Karlsruhe University in Germany, a working group built up an email node and successfully sent out an email to Germany on Sep 20th. The email title was “Across the Great Wall we can reach every corner in the world.”
  • In later December 1992, Tsinghua University Network (TUNET) was set up and went into service. TUNET was the first college network to adopt TCP/IP structure in China.
  • In May 1994, the National Research Center for Intelligent Computing Systems opened the first BBS in the Chinese mainland-Dawn BBS.
  • On November 15, 1996, the Shihuakai Corporation built the Shihuakai Internet Café besides the capital gymnasium; it was the first Internet café in China.
  • On January 1, 1997, People’s Daily’s online version was launched. This was the first key news website of the Central Government. The same year, CNNIC published the first “Statistical Report on Internet Development in China.”
  • In September 1999, China Merchants Bank took the lead in providing an online banking service called “All in One Net,” making it the first online commercial bank in China.
  • On May 25, 2001, the Internet Society of China (ISC) was founded with the approval of the Ministry of Civil Affairs. It was established under the direction of the Ministry of Information Industry.
  • On March 20, 2003, a youth from Hubei Province named Sun Zhigang was beaten to death in Guangzhou. Online media around the nation actively participated in reporting the tragedy and raised public concerns across the country, for the first time demonstrating the Internet’s great power as the media to voice public opinion in China.
  • In August 2005, Chinese leading Internet search engine Baidu ignited a buying spree of its shares when it had its initial public offering on the Nasdaq.
  • At the end of 2006, a virus called “Nimaya” broke out across China’s Internet. Millions of computers were affected and damaged. An investigation showed that 90 percent of new viruses in 2006 had traits of being for profit. The purpose of virus producers veered from showing off their techniques to pursuing illegal profits.
  • In January 2007, the Statistical Report of Internet Development in China published by CNNIC showed the netizen population in China had reached 137 million by the end of 2006, and the average time spent online was 16.9 hours per person per week.

Some reported facts and statistics:

  • According to the 20th China Internet Development Statistics Report published by the China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC), as of June 30, 2007, there had been 162 million Internet users in China, which ranked the country second in the world next to the United States in terms of Internet population.
  • According to a report on the future development of global entertainment and media by PricewaterhouseCoopers, in 2010 China will overtake the United States to have the largest population of Internet users.
  • Every minute witnesses an increase of 100 Chinese netizens.
  • There are now around 100 million blogs in China.
  • According to the latest data released by the China Internet Network Information Center, more than 20 percent of urban residents in China have access to the Internet, compared with only 3 percent in the countryside.
  • China is home to over 37 million rural Internet users.
  • The price of Internet use in China accounts for 10 percent of the total income level, which is almost 10 times that of developed countries, and the high price is leading to an increasing digital gap between urban residents and rural groups in the country.
  • One in every four Chinese Internet users, or 44.3 million people, accesses the Internet by phone, largely due to lower mobile charges. About one third of the users access the Internet primarily via wireless devices.
  • China now has approximately 9.18 million domain names, of which 6.15 million end in “cn.”
  • The number of Internet portals currently stands at 1.31 million, of which the number of “cn” names has grown 137.5 percent annually to 810,000. “Cn” names now exceed the number of “.com” names for the first time.
  • The Internet Society of China (ISC) indicates China’s Internet advertising volume will total 7.56 billion yuan in 2007, an increase of 51.8 percent over 2006’s 4.98 billion yuan, and it is expected to hit 11.7 billion yuan in 2008.
  • At the coming 2008 Olympics in Beijing, China will show its next generation Internet (CNGI) which uses Internet protocol version 6 (IPv6). IPv6 is estimated to have 1,029 times the number of addresses of IPv4 (the current standard), and an increased information transmitting speed of more than 1,000 times to 40 gigabytes per second.
  • China blocked access to 18,401 websites during a nationwide campaign against online pornography that started in April 2007.


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