In my previous post, I talked about the unofficial number of China’s Internet users estimated at 150 – 200 million. Yesterday’s Xinhua news revealed the new statistics from China Internet Network Information Centre (CNNIC): the number of Internet users in China has reached 123 million, representing a 19.4 per cent growth since June 2005.
This means, in a year or two, China will “officially” surpass the United States and become the number one country in term of Internet users.
While this sounds encouraging for people who want to tap into the Internet boom in China, a closer look at the numbers showed some signs of a problem: more than 80 percent of the Chinese netizens are below age 35, with 40 percent of them between age 18 – 24. The ratio of high school students is even higher, at 50 percent
As Lu Bowang, CNNIC senior consultant, said, “It may be a worrying phenomenon that the ratio of Internet users above 30 years old is dropping because the Internet economy is too much focused on entertainment and young users,”
I remember my friends in China complained about the silliness and mindlessness of the content on the Internet. Compared with the US, majority of people on the Internet in China are young people seeking entertainment and fun, versus professionals searching for information and knowledge.
I believe one of the reasons is because there is less outdoor space in China. After school, those kids, full of energy, don’t have many places to go. Sitting in front of computers and escaping into cyber space becomes a natural alternative.
As for business people, they usually have their secretaries, typically young girls, to surf the Internet for them for any business related information. No wonder this resulted in a country of young netizens!