China Internet Population Reaches 137 million; Set To Surpass U.S. in 2 Years

China's internet population jumped 23.4% or 14 million new users last year to 137 million people, or about 10% of its 1.3 billion population, according to China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC). China is on pace to surpass the U.S. within two years as the nation with the most Internet users.

Broadband users in China exceeded 100 million for the first time to reach 104 million, or 75.9% of all Internet users.

Another 17 million Chinese go online via mobile phones, accounting for 12.4% of the Internet population.

76% of Chinese Internet users access the Internet primarily from home, primarily for sending and receiving e-mail (56.1%), reading news (53.5%) and online search (51.5%).

"We believe it will take two years at most for China to overtake the United States," the official China Daily newspaper quoted an official of the agency. About 210 million of the United States' 300 million people are online, according to the U.S. government. 

China could reach 210 million users in two years if it keeps up growing at 24% a year. 

China had 111 million Internet users in January 2006, according to CNNIC.

The report shows a wide disparity between the urban and rural areas, with Internet use in cities 6.5 times that in the countryside.

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