People logging in through mobile devices and those accessing the Web in rural areas also increased compared with 2010.
Chinese are using the Internet than ever before, with more than 500 million
users in China accessing the Web, according to a report by the state-run China
Internet Network Information Center.
report said the number of people using the Web rose 12 percent in December to
513 million people. The report also provides information on China's uptake of
microblogging sites called "weibo" sites that are akin to
Twitter-nearly half of Chinese Web users logged into the sites in 2011, up from
63 million in 2010.
logging in through mobile devices and those accessing the Web in rural areas
also increased compared with 2010, climbing 17.5 percent to 356 million and 8.9
percent to 136 million, respectively. Internet users across the country make up
nearly 40 percent of China's population of 1.3 billion, according to the
China's market for Internet usage grows, U.S. firms are gearing up to access an
enormous potential base of users. The leading Chinese language Internet search
provider, Baidu, and Microsoft are teaming up to provide users of Baidu with
results from Bing, Microsoft's search engine. Baidu is looking to expand its
user base after fending off market-share increases from Google, while Microsoft
is trying to keep momentum going for Bing, which has seen its user base for the
search service grow at home.
rise of consumer technology and Web access in China is raising a host of
issues, both political and economic, as the country's leaders grapple with the
social implications of access to unrestricted speech and Chinese consumers
scramble to obtain the latest in mobile technology, as evidenced by last week's
disturbances in Apple stores in China.
stores in Beijing and Shanghai have delayed the release of the iPhone 4S after
a scene outside a Beijing store turned ugly
early Jan. 13, with angry crowds
fighting and throwing eggs at one of the buildings. Crowds of hundreds,
according to the Associated Press, waited outside overnight in 20-degree
temperatures, only to be told in the morning-after the flagship store in
Beijing didn't open at 7 a.m. as expected, and the crowd became rowdy-that the
store would not open and no one would get the coveted device.
ensure the safety of customers and employees, the iPhone "will not be
available in our retail stores in Beijing and Shanghai for the time
being," Carolyn Wu, an Apple spokesperson in Beijing, said in a widely
Chinese consumers have proved to have an insatiable appetite for mobile
devices, though the Apple brand holds particular cache, and the country-along
with the United States-has become a top earner for Apple, bringing in more than
10 percent of sales in 2011. During Apple's 2011 fourth fiscal quarter, it
opened a new store in Hong Kong, one of the 25 that officials have said they
plan to open over the next few years.