Mobile phone users cross 358m mark in China

Agence France Presse

Beijing, June 28:

China has more than 100 million Internet users and some 358 million mobile phone users, with both areas growing rapidly as the country’s economy booms, state press reported today.

“At present China has over 100 million Internet users, among the most in the world,” Xi Guohua, vice-minister of information industry, said. Of the Internet users, 30 million or so were using broadband, he said. There were 94 million Chinese Internet users at the end of 2004, according to earlier reports. China’s population is about 1.3 billion people. Xi also said the number of mobile phone subscribers had reached 358 million people, an area that was growing by about 60 million new users a year. The mobile phone industry made up some 44.6 per cent of China’s telecom business, Xi added. In the first five months of 2004, China also installed 44.7 million new fixed telephone lines, with a total of 692 million fixed lines now in place, Xi said. The number of Internet users in China is second only to that of the US. The Chinese government has an ambivalent attitude to the Internet, appreciating its potential for advancing technical and other knowledge but wary of its ability to disseminate information, particularly political opinion, that it deems harmful.