internet & e-commerce
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World Internet Conference 2015

Top of the world: 5 facts about China, the web and its global-leading 668 million online users

As China hosts World Internet Conference, attended by senior global technology company executives on Wednesday, we take a quick look at internet’s growing importance on mainland

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 16 December, 2015, 10:21am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 16 December, 2015, 2:40pm

1. China has the largest number of internet users in the world

China boasts more than 668 million internet users, 594 million of whom go online via their mobile phones, according to the China Internet Network Information Centre.

2. Chinese netizens spend more than two-and-a-half hours each day playing with their phones

Chinese mobile users spent an average of 158 minutes every day using their smartphones for entertainment in 2014, says the centre. It means that if you add up the combined daily total of each mainland person using their phones for entertainment it would equal 178,561 years.

3. China has banned more than 5,000 websites

China has one of the strongest and most sophisticated censorship systems in the world. More than 5,000 websites are blocked on the mainland, non-profit organisation GreatFire.org says. Among the websites that are blocked are popular social media networking platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

4. China’s mobile payments market continues to grow

Mobile payments on the mainland hit US$4.19 trillion during the second quarter, up 445 per cent from the same time last year, according to research firm China Internet Watch. Of the 650 million active users of Tencent’s mobile messaging app WeChat, 60 per cent use the app’s built-in WeChat Wallet service, which runs under Tencent’s Tenpay payment platform. In 2014, Tenpay held 10.6 per cent of the mobile payments market.

5. China will be the world’s largest e-commerce market this year

China’s e-commerce retail sales are forecast to hit US$672 billion this year, according to China Internet Watch. This accounts for more than 40 per cent of estimated global e-commerce sales, as more Chinese users turn to online retail platforms such as Alibaba’s Taobao and Tmall to do their shopping. On this year’s Singles Day shopping extravaganza on November 11, Chinese shoppers spent a record US$14.3 billion online on websites such as Taobao and Tmall.