The number of people on the Internet in China reached 59.1 million by the end of 2002, according to the latest survey by the China Internet Network Information Center, as the world’s second-largest Internet user population continued to grow. The Internet user population increased by 13.3 million people since the center’s previous survey at the end of June 2002, Cinic said in a statement Thursday.
Chinese Internet users now make up an estimated 9% of the global Internet population, and about 4.6% of China’s own massive population.
The government-backed group predicted that the Internet user population will grow 46% during 2003 to hit 86.3 million by the end of the year.
In a report late last year, the United Nations estimated that China already had the world’s second-largest Internet population, far behind the more than 140 million in the U.S. but edging ahead of the roughly 58 million in Japan.