Mobile revolution: over 90 per cent of China’s 620 million internet users use smartphones, tabs to go online

Government report forecasts digital entertainment for mobile will soar as demographic heavily skewed to people under 40

PUBLISHED : Friday, 22 January, 2016, 4:00pm
UPDATED : Friday, 22 January, 2016, 5:44pm

The number of mobile internet users in China jumped to 620 million at the end of 2015 as over 90 per cent of people who surf the web in the country now do so on their smartphones and other mobile devices, according to a new report.

The number soared by more than 63 million year-on-year amid an ongoing boom in e-commerce and as the entertainment industry continues to take off online, the government-run China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC) said in its report released at lunchtime on Friday.

China now has 668 million internet users, accounting for 48.8 per cent of the country’s total population. About 40 million new users were added last year, the CNNIC said.

This is expected to keep growing as companies like Alibaba move to spread e-commerce to rural parts of the country.

China’s e-commerce juggernaut is, for example, ran a five-day “farmers’ festival” this week ahead of next month’s Spring Festival to further drum up demand. This year, the Lunar New Year holiday, the biggest vacation of the year in China, falls on February 8 but lasts for about a week.

Meanwhile, the number of people who use their mobile devices to make payments increased by over 64 per cent to 358 million, the report said.

According to previous data from the central government, China’s online retail sales soared over 42 per cent in 2015 to hit 4 trillion yuan (US$608 billion).

More than three-quarters of people who use the internet in China are under 39 years of age, the report said. About 30 per cent fall in the 20-29 age bracket, it added.

Internet usage and mobile-based entertainment will soar rapidly this year because the demographic is so heavily skewed in favour of young people, it said.

This has spurred many digital entertainment providers to focus on creating original content for the Chinese market.