Statistics from the National Development and Reform Commission
(NDRC) show that Internet use has been growing rapidly in China's
rural areas, with the number of rural net users reaching 37.41
million by the end of June, 2007, approximately 5.1 percent of the
total rural population. At the same time urban netizens reached 125
million, or 21.6 percent of the urban population.
China's rural net users were 23.1 million at the end of 2006,
indicating that in six months 14.3 million more farmers gained
access to the Internet.
The NDRC's report said the rapidly improving telecommunications
infrastructure in rural areas has facilitated the increase of net
users. In its 11th Five-Year Program (2006-2010), the Ministry of
Information Industry vowed to extend phone service to every village
and enable every township to have access to the Internet.
The majority of rural net users are young farmers and migrant
workers, who can use computers to enjoy online music, games, and
videos as skillfully as urban users. However, rural net users
rarely use the Internet for news, search engines, online shopping,
online banking, or trading stocks.
In some rural areas, the Internet has been used for special
purposes featuring agricultural information and technologies and
price information for produce.
Liu Manqiang, deputy director of the Information Research Center
under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences said that,
"information communication can bring about huge added value, and an
important goal of the country's information drive is to enable more
farmers to benefit from the development of the information