updated 05:26 pm EDT, Thu July 19, 2012
Chinese online population increases 11 percent from last year
The number of Internet users in China has risen to 538 million people. Figures from government-sanctioned China Internet Network Information Center say this represents an 11 percent increase from the country's online population last year, matching claims from the Beijing Communication Industry Association earlier this month. The group also suggest that 39.9 percent of the entire population of China uses the Internet, including significant traffic from mobile phones.
Handset and other mobile device users total around 388 million, 11 percent higher than the previous year. It is speculated that mobile phones will surpass computers for Internet access in the country within the next two or three years. China is already seen as the world's most important smartphone market after overtaking the US late last year, after shipments to the US fell while the Chinese market grew 57 percent last summer.
China-native companies such as Huawei and ZTE have been working towards being accepted in the Western marketplace after finding success in their home country. Both the EU and the US governments are looking at the business practices of the companies, with accusations that they receive unfair subsidies from the Chinese government in order to lower handset costs far beyond more established phone manufacturers, as well as possible national security threats. [via NPR]