China’s internet users spent US$37.5 billion in the first six months of 2008, up 60% year-on-year, AFP reported, citing statistics released by the Data Center of China Internet, a research institute. Spending for the whole of 2008 is expected to rise by nearly 50% over the previous year, reaching US$86.2 billion. On average, each internet user spent US$31.01 per month through the internet, 13.9% more than a year earlier. The research institute put the fast growth down to China’s rapidly expanding internet population and rising consumption. Total internet users hit 221 million in February as China overtook the US to become the world’s largest internet market by users. The research institute predicts that China’s internet users will number 263 million by the end of 2008, compared to 210 million in 2007.