China's internet population grows

China’s internet population passed the half billion mark at the end of 2011.

According to statistics worked out by the government-backed China Internet Network Information Centre (CNNIC), the country added 28 million new users during the second half of the year.

This means that at the end of December, the country had 513 million internet users. More than 38.3 percent of the country has an internet connection which is up four percent from a year ago.

The number of users accessing the internet from their mobile phones has also grown, reaching 355 million. Now 69.3 percent of China’s internet users connect via their handsets, up from 66.2 percent a year ago.

The number of Chinese connecting to the internet via their desktops has dropped 73.4 percent, while the percentage of internet users that access from their notebooks has remained steady at 46.8 percent.

Internet growth in China has actually been slowing down. This is because most Chinese people within the 10 to 29 year old age range already use the internet. Older people are less interested in it.

Currently the most popular functions are instant messaging, search engines, and online music. Microblogs have been growing like topsy with their numbers reaching almost 250 million users, up from 63 million a year ago.