Believe it or not: China Internet Population Tops 200 Million

The number of Internet users in China soared past 200 million in 2007, a new report from the country's quasi-government Internet overseer said Thursday.

China's Internet population stood at 210 million at the end of last year, up 53 percent from the same time in 2006 when there were 137 million, the China Internet Network Information Centre said in its semi-annual report on Internet use here.

That figure puts China just 5 million users away from becoming the world's largest wired nation -- and with only about 16 percent of the population online. At its current growth rate, China will become the world's top Internet market sometime in the next few months.

The greatest growth came from users under 18 and over 30, CNNIC said. One of the most surprising statistics from the new report indicates that about 40 percent of users added over the last year, over 29 million, came from rural areas. Even in the January 2007 report, the vast majority of Chinese Netizens were based in major urban areas such as Beijing and Shanghai.

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