If you’re reading this blog in China or if you’ve got one of your own here, you’re part of a national trend: having blogs is about five times more popular in China than it is in the US. If you’re listening to some music online and instant messaging at the same time, you’re an even more typical Chinese Internet user.
That’s just some of the things we’ve learned from this great chart comparing American and Chinese internet usage, compiled by The Business Insider.
By the end of last year, China’s internet penetration rate – roughly, the percentage of the country that has access to the Internet – had surpassed the global average, according to the China Internet Network Information Center’s latest report.
They counted 298 million users, 88 million more than at the end of 2007, mostly because of the huge increase in Internet usage in rural parts of the country. As of last month, there were a total of 13,594,604 domain names registered under “.cn.”
What’s interesting about the comparison chart is that Chinese users are spending way more time than Americans on entertainment sites, like online music, video, games and chatting, but not using the Internet as much for banking, buying, or other commerce-related activities.
For those of us in China – and surrounded by MSN, QQ, and Youku – the distinction probably isn’t surprising, but it does mean that Chinese users are approaching the Internet in a different way, using it more for fun than for financial business. So even if more of the country is hooked up, their financial lives aren’t as dependent on the Internet as those in the U.S.
That’s probably why such huge numbers of China’s youth are riding the mobile internet wave, with 117.6 million out of the current 640 million registered cellphone holders using the Internet on their phones, and 70.8% of those users under 19. If you’re not using the internet for business, you might as well have it be portable. Of course, once phones get even smarter, there’s the high possibility that these plugged-in youth will start building businesses on them.
And we couldn’t help but mention the other big distinction between American and Chinese Internet usage: it’s not censored in the U.S. The Committee to Protect Journalists rated China among the top ten worst countries to be a blogger – ironically, their article about it appears to be blocked.
However, an interesting report by the Pew Research Center found that Chinese users aren’t as concerned about the censorship as Americans would assume. Though the Pew report concluded that Chinese users approve of the government’s management of the Internet, the high popularity of blogs and instant messaging, combined with what we’ve seen of their industrious ways of getting around certain controls, convinces us that maybe they’re not concerned because they just don’t let the government get in their way.
Image by The Business Insider.