Internet users soar

BEIJING: China’s internet users — already by far the world’s most

numerous — rose to nearly 700 million last year, authorities said on Friday, more than twice the population of the United States. Beijing imposes strict controls on online content, while e-commerce is a vital part of its efforts to transform the economy into one driven more by consumer demand. The Asian giant’s internet population — defined as those who have gone online at least once in the past six months — stood at 688 million at the end of 2015, up 39.5 million year-on-year, according to the government’s China Internet Network Information Centre (CNNIC). The figure accounts for more than half the people in the world’s most populous country.