Beijing, July 24: The number of Internet users in China swelled to 668 million in the first half of this year with about 90 per cent accessing the web through mobile phones, which have become affordable due a drop in prices.
The semi-annual report by the China Internet Network Information Centre (CNNIC) showed that there were a total of 668 million online users in China by the end of June, an increase of 19 million in the past six months. Among the users, 27.9 per cent or 186 million are rural residents, an increase of 8 million.
Most of the online users are aged between 20 and 29 and are mainly students and freelancers. About 90 per cent of the users access the Internet through mobile phones, 68 per cent access through desktop and about 43 per cent use laptop, the report said.
The popularity of smartphones has shot up recently due to a drop in prices, making them more affordable. The government has also increased its support to mobile Internet services and has required operators to lower the Internet fees.
The growth of apps useful in daily lives also contributed to attract online users, the report said. Besides, the report found that online shopping, group buying and trip booking have been increasing steadily, while the number of online payment apps also saw a significant rise as the related systems and infrastructure became more mature, state-run Global Times reported.
Following a boom in the stock market that began last year, the number of people using mobile apps to trade shares rose by 50 per cent in the first half of this year to 5.6 million, the report showed.