There are nearly 17 million Internet users in China, according to the China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC).
The latest "Statistical Report on the Development of the Internet in China," which is released every half year by CNNIC, is widely recognized as the best guide to Internet use in the county.
The report showed CNNIC received 1,629,361 on-line questionnaires between May 22 and June 30, of which 573,902 were found to be valid. Once looked at, they showed that by the end of June 6.5 million computers in China had access to the Internet and the total number of Internet surfers had reached 16.9 million. The Internet domain names under the suffix "cn" had reached 99,734.
Most Internet users are still in Beijing, Guangdong and Shanghai, where users represent 18.72, 12.82 and 10.79 per cent of China's total users respectively, while China's western provinces and autonomous regions account for less than 1 per cent of the country's Internet users.
The report showed that nearly three quarters of China's Internet surfers are male and most of them are single. People aged between 18 and 24 make up 46.77 of China's Internet users, while those aged between 25 and 30 account for 29.18 of users. The 31-35 age group accounts for 10.03 per cent. People older than 35 or younger than 18 rarely log on to the Internet. More than half Internet surfers have a bachelor or higher degree, and CNNIC describes them as the real backbone of China' Internet industry. The survey showed that 37.77 per cent of Internet users earn 1,001 to 2,000 yuan a month, and 18.45 per cent earn 2,001 to 4,000 yuan a month.
Eighty-two per pent of users said on-line news was their first choice when they logged on. Computer-related information is also very popular, with 59.08 choosing such sites.
Most interviewees were skeptical about the security of on-line shopping, and 83.72 per cent said they had bought nothing on-line in the past year.
The survey showed that China's three NASDAQ listed companies - www.sina.com, www.sohu.com and www.163.com - are the most popular Internet Service Providers in the country. Sina still holds the top position.