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China’s Internet Users Go Mobile

in International Business

China’s Internet Users Go Mobile

For the first time, desktop computers are overtaken by mobile phones for internet usage.

The report from the China Internet Network Information Center (CINIC) said over 50% of the year’s new internet users were from rural areas.

The decrease in the prices of smartphones has been the key cause of growth.

“Mobile phones are a cheaper and more convenient way to access the internet for [residents in] China’s vast rural areas and for the enormous migrant population,” said the report from the state-linked CINIC.

Mobile internet users now number 388 million, up almost 10% since the start of the year.

According to Bill Dutton, professor of Internet studies at the University of Oxford, a similar trend is seen in other parts of the world.

China has a wide variety of laws and administrative regulations that call for internet censorship. The escalation of the government’s effort to neutralize critical online opinion comes after a series of large anti-Japanese, anti-pollution, anti-corruption protests, and ethnic riots, many of which were organized or publicized using instant messaging services, chat rooms, and text messages. The size of the Internet police is rumored at more than 30,000.

Mobile phones are an ideal platform for the microblogs which have become unofficial forums for information about unrest, scandals or disasters.

While internet access through web-browsers is constrained by the Great Firewall, specially written mobile programmes – or apps – frequently circumvent China’s internet controls.

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