The United States has a population of around 303,824,640.
China has 338 million Internet users.
Those two figures bear thinking about.
Look at the size of the countries of the world. They are always open to argument and debate but a list might be:
Russia: 17,075,200 km2Canada: 9,984,670 km2United States: 9,631,418 km2China: 9,596,960 km2Brazil: 8,511,965 km2Australia: 7,686,850 km2
Australia which comes in fifth has 15,300,000 Internet users. It is simply not in the race.
Russia, nearly twice as big physically as China, has 29,400,000 Internet users. Close but no cigar.
And China is adding bout 80 million users a year.
The figures are mind-numbing. Examples: the number of Internet users shopping online grew by 14 million in the first half of 2009 to 87.88 million. A total of 23.7 million Chinese were using online payment services by June.
In China music, entertainment and information are the three most common uses of the Internet, with over 50% penetration rate among all users.
China had registered 12.96 million.cn domain names by late June.
DM reports that online gaming gained 30 million users during the half year period, while bloggers hit 181 million. Online travel booking lost users in the first half due to the economic downtown. It is pleasing to report that electric shock treatment is no longer user to deter addicted gamers.
All of which has to be seen in the light of the fact that internet penetration in China remains comparatively low – just 25.5% – compared to the US where it probably over 70%. That is nearing saturation. China still has a long, long way to go.
The Guardian thinks mobile phone connection to the Internet is the way of the future. It expects it to set off a new surge in internet use. At which point it is pointless thinking out figures. They become meaningless digits.