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Opening Speech at the Second China-U.S.Internet Forum
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Hu Qiheng

Chairperson of the Internet Society of China

On this occasion of the opening of the second China-U.S. Internet Forum jointly hosted by the Internet Society of China (ISC) and Microsoft Corp., I, on behalf of the ISC, would like to extend a warm welcome to all guests. I'd also express my welcome and gratitude to all media friends covering this forum, and thank all my colleagues from China and the United States who have paid great efforts to organize and prepare for this forum.

This year, the theme of the forum is "development and cooperation." On the basis of the achievements of the first session of this forum convened in Seattle last year, participants from China and the United States will discuss at this session topics including cutting-edge technologies and their application trends, Internet information dissemination, Internet security and Internet regulation. Through these discussions, the forum will further deepen mutual understanding and communication, and promote cooperation and development.

In 1994, at the China-U.S. Joint Commission Meeting on Science and Technology Cooperation, I made an official request to the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) on behalf of the Chinese Academy of Sciences regarding Internet connection. The request was accepted and supported by NSF. Hence I have witnessed the full-function access of China to the World Wide Web.

At present, China's IT industry maintains the sound development momentum in previous years. It is in an era of continuous, fast and steady growth. By June 2008, China had registered a total of 253 million Internet users, up 91 million from the same period of the previous year, which rendered a year-on-year growth of 56.2 percent, the fastest annual growth rate ever seen. The number of websites has reached 1.919 million. The bandwidth of international outlet has reached 493.7 Gbps. China now has the largest population of Internet users in the world. I believe the number will continue to grow.

The year 2008 is eventful for China. At the beginning of this year, a snowstorm hit south China; on May 12, the Wenchuan earthquake shocked the world; and on August 8, the unexceptional 29th Olympic Games opened in Beijing. The Internet has played a great role in covering these events, and has become the most important communication channel for conducting disaster rescue and relief, overcoming difficulties, and delivering friendship to the world. We can say that the Internet has become a mainstream medium in China. In China, the top 10 Internet applications are: music sharing, news disclosure, instant messaging, video sharing, search engines, e-mails, online games, blogging, forum/BBS and online shopping.

In 2008, China makes a great leap in expanding the coverage of the Internet. By October, the rural information network development project launched by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology had brought telephone access to 940,000 administrative villages and 20,000 natural villages, accounting for 99.6 percent and 91.9 percent of the national total, respectively. About 94 percent of townships had accessed the Internet via broadband connections. Townships that had either dialup or broadband access to the Internet had made up 97 percent of the national total. Telecommunications and information services in rural areas have been improved significantly.

E-commerce has further developed. In 2007, the annual online transaction volume exceeded 2 trillion yuan, of which, the B2B transaction volume reached 2,123.9 billion yuan, the C2C transaction volume reached 41 billion yuan, and the B2C transaction volume stood at 4.64 billion yuan. By the end of June 2008,25 percent of Internet users, or 63.29 million, had shopped online. About 22.5 percent of the e-commerce transactions had been conducted via online payment platforms. In the first half of this year, users of the platforms grew by 23.79 million, an increase of 71.7 percent from the beginning of this year. E-commerce is being spread from large and coastal cities to small and medium-sized inland cities. The composition of e-commerce market players is also more and more diversified.

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