China's online population hits 731 million; Alibaba, Tencent drive growth

Right now the total number of Internet users in China equals the entire population of Europe

The number of Internet users in China, which is already the highest in the world, has hit a record high of 731 million as of December 2016, .which is 6.2 percent more than at the end of 2015,. The China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC) said this number accounts for 53.2 percent of the total population of the country.


Right now the total number of Internet users in China equals the entire population of Europe.

The number of people to go online from smartphones has reached 695 million, which is around 95.1 percent of the total number, making computers lose their appeal significantly. In 2016, Chinese netizens used Internet-based government services more often than offline service centers and hotlines.

E-commerce is a vital part of the government's effort to turn the People's Republic into consumer demand-driven economy, although Beijing also enforces restrictions on online content, barring citizens from accessing major websites like Facebook and Google.The government is now pushing a so-called "Internet plus" project that aims to expand the role of online technology in the economy.

And why not? Online consumption is a very important part of the economy, as its contribution to the GDP growth is mounting every day.

As of December 12, the number of people in China using online payments had reached 475 million, up 14.0 percent year on year, according to the CNNIC and the number of listed Chinese Internet enterprises reached 91, with an aggregate value of 5. 4 trillion yuan ($ 786.1 billion). Tencent and Alibaba accounted for 57 percent of the total value.


For example, China's online consumers spent $17.8 billion in e-commerce giant Alibaba's biggest online shopping promotion on November 11 last year, more than twice the five-day desktop sales from Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday in the US last year.