A Beijing taxi driver shows off his smartphone, a tool he uses to find fares, and for getting bookings in advance. [Photo: China Daily]
The number of Chinese Internet users hit 538 million and mobile phones overtook computers as the largest channel for accessing internet, qq.com reports.
On Thursday in Beijing, the China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC) released the 30th report on China's Internet development.
According to the CNNIC report, China's online population has reached 538 million, and the Internet penetration rate hit 39.9 percent by June 2012. But the growth continues to slow with an increase of 24.5 million Internet users and a penetration rate that rose only 1.6 percent in the first half of 2012.
Mobile phones overtook computers as the prime channel for Internet access. In the first half of 2012, 388 million people accessed the Internet through mobile phones while 380 million did so through desktop computers (and 242 million through laptops). Lowers price and improved smartphone functions as well as many cell phone applications contributed to the change.
The report said that the penetration rate has already reached a relatively high level or saturation point in developed areas. The next phase will be popularizing Internet use among less-educated groups and in less developed regions.
Insufficient IT technology is still a prime factor in the lack of Internet use as well as people who are too old or too young to use it.
There were 210 million online shoppers in China as of June 2012. Among them, 37.47 million people use their mobile phones to shop online, a 59.7 percent increase compared to the second half of 2011. In the future, China's online shopping market needs to be driven not only by increasing the amount of online shoppers but also by exploring the depth of consumption, said the report.
The group buyer population dropped to 61.8 million during the same period, a decrease of 2.84 million people compared with the second half of 2011.