China’s Internet population hits 485 million

China’s online population which is by far the world’s largest has hit 485 million users at the end of June. This figure symbolizes a 6.1% increase from the end of 2010.

The survey which was released by the China Internet Network Information Centre shows an increase of 27.7 million web users since December. This number is almost the equivalent of the entire population of Malaysia.

The figure represents more than a third of the population is online.

Weibo, which is a popular Twitter-like service, saw an increase of 195 million users at the end of June 2011, from 63.11 million at the end of last year.

The internet represents a portal for mass expression, although it is still tightly controlled. Weibo has become “a form of Internet application that has the fastest growing number of users”, the survey said.

The number of people surfing the web on mobile phones reached 318 million, up by 14.94 million from six months ago.

The Internet also provides users as a marketplace which is also a popular domain with the number of online shoppers rising 7.6% from the end of last year to 172.66 million.

The growing intensity and influence of the web has fuelled concern in Beijing about the Internet’s potential as a tool for generating social unrest, which has subsequently lead to the increase of surveillance by authorities in recent years. The Chinese government blocks web content that it deems politically sensitive in a vast system dubbed the “Great Firewall of China”.

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