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China’s internet penetration has broken the 50% barrier for the first time ever.
The news was announced by the China Internet Network Information Centre, which confirmed that as of the end of 2015, 688 million people used the internet in China, equivalent to 50.3% of the population.
The rise in internet penetration is being driven primarily by increasing smartphone adoption. Around 90% of Chinese internet users, equivalent to 620 million people, use their smartphone to access the web at least occasionally. 18.5% said that they only ever accessed the internet using their smartphone.
The report also revealed that China now has the largest ecommerce market in the world. The Chinese ecommerce market was worth 673 billion US dollars last year, a staggering 41% increase on the previous year.
This is substantially more than the American ecommerce market, which was worth 347 billion US dollars in 2015 after seeing yearly growth of just 8%. The US had previously been the world’s biggest ecommerce market.