The number of Internet surfers in China is expected to have reached 78 million by the end of 2003, making China the country with the second most users in the world after the US. By the end of the year there were 500,000 websites and 30 million online computers in China. The number of Internet users in China has been increasing by 5 to 6% monthly in recent years but still only accounts for 5.2% of the country’s total population, while the percentage in the US is 63.2 and the average percentage among all countries is 10.7. The Ministry of Information Industry estimates that by 2005, the number of online computers will reach 40 million and 15% of the population of China will be surfing the Internet.
Yahoo acquires 3721 US Internet giant Yahoo agreed to pay up to US$120 million over two years to acquire Hong Kong-based software development company 3721 Network Software, the parent of Beijing-based 3721. The deal is expected to conclude in the first quarter of next year.
Beijing 3721, a Chinese search engine service and e-mail provider, claims that 90% of Chinese Internet users use its service. Beijing 3721 had revenues of RMB 140 million (US$17 million) and profits of RMB 40 million (US$4.8 million) in 2002. The company forecasted revenues would reach RMB 200 million (US$24 million) in 2003. RETAIL
Wal-Mart enters Shanghai Wal-Mart, the world’s largest retailer, is set to open three huge outlets in Shanghai in a JV with CITIC Trust & Invest. Starting from 1996, Wal-Mart has opened 31 stores in 15 cities around China, employing over 16,000 people, but it is yet to make a foray into eastern China.
The company plans to get the three stores up and running with a total investment of US$18 million and registered capital of US$7.2 million. A 100,000 sq m Wal-Mart supercenter at Wujiaochang, in Shanghai’s west, will be finished in about two years while another location in Laoximen, in downtown Shanghai, is already under construction and a third outlet is expected in Pudong.