The number of Chinese netizens rose to 111 million at the end of 2005, an increase of 17 million from a year ago, according to statistics released Tuesday.
This means 8.5 percent of Chinese people have become netizens, namely people that use the Internet for at least one hour each week. The ratio, however, remains behind the global level of 15.2 percent.
Statistics from the China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC) also reveal that 64.3 million Chinese netizens have broadband access to the Internet, up 50.2 percent from a year ago.
There exists a wide gap between Internet use in cities and rural areas, the statistics show.
There are 19.31 million netizens in the rural areas, making up only 2.6 percent of the rural population. There are around 91.69 million netizens in cities, making up 16.9 percent of the urban population, according to the CNNIC.
Internet users had paid 100 billion yuan (US$12.5 billion) for the services last year, said China Internet Network Information Center.
The report said the actual Internet expense of each netizen amounted to 103.6 yuan (US$12.9) per month on the average, excluding the charges of various kinds of services like the e-commerce provided many websites.
Currently the Internet popularization ratio in China is 8.5 percent, much higher than the world's average of 1.52 percent.
(Xinhua News Agency January 18, 2006)