Mobiles overtake desktops as rural Chinese get online

Mobile phones have overtaken desktops as the most common way in which people in China connect to the internet.

The Chinese government announced in July that the number of web users in the country had now reached 538 million, meaning that nearly four out of 10 of its 1.3 billion people now use the web.

A report from the China Internet Network Information Center (CINIC) also reported that mobile internet users now number 388 million, which is up almost 10 percent since the start of 2012, while 380 million use computers.

The key cause for this growth has been put down to the fall in smartphone costs, which has seen an increase in the number of rural mobile users in China. More than 50 percent of the year’s new internet users were from China’s rural areas according to the report.

Mobile phones are a cheaper and more convenient way to access the internet for residents in China’s vast rural areas and for the enormous migrant population,” the report said. “Meanwhile, mobile phone prices continued to drop – the emergence of smartphones under 1,000 yuan ($157) sharply lowered the threshold for using the devices and encouraged average mobile phone users to become mobile web surfers,” the report concluded.

China is now the largest smartphone market in the world with 33 million mobile phones sold in the country over the past 12 months compared with 25 million in the USA during the same time, with a growth rate at a stunning 164 percent.

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