As of July 2017, there were 751 million internet users in China, a figure which increased by 19.92 million in the first half of this year. China internet penetration rate has reached 54.3%, 1.1 percentage points higher than in 2016.
The number of mobile internet users in China rose by 28.3 million to reach 724 million at the end of the first half of 2017; mobile internet users also accounted for 96.3% of internet users (non-exclusive), up from 95.1% at the end of 2016.
As of June, 2017, internet users made up 26.7% of the population in rural areas, a decline of 0.7 percentage points from the end of 2016; there were a total of 201 million rural internet users. Meanwhile, in urban areas, the percentage rose by 0.7 percentage points to 73.3%, with a total of 550 million users, an increase of 19.88 million.
While rates of internet penetration are rising in both rural and urban areas, the difference in penetration between the two remains high. In rural areas, the internet penetration rate is 34.0%, a full 35.4 percentage points lower than in urban areas.
In terms of network usage among internet users, the urban-rural gap is smallest in instant messaging, where the rural penetration rate is only 2 percentage points lower than urban, but when it comes to business transactions, mobile payments, news, and similar applications, the gap is much higher; food delivery services have the highest gap, at 26.8 percentage points.
Smartphones are the top devices for internet access in China in 2016 with over 95% users, followed by desktop computers (60.1%) and laptops (36.8%).
China mobile internet users totaled 695 million as of Dec 2016, an increase of 75.5 million from Dec 2015 and 95.1% of total internet users.
Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangdong are the top 3 regions in China with the highest internet penetration rates of over 74%.
The top 5 categories of internet applications in China are instant messengers, news, search engines, videos, and music.
Rural areas have 201 million internet users, accounting for 27.4% of all China internet users.
60.1% and 36.8% of China internet users connect to the internet via desktop and laptop respectively; mobile devices 95.1%; tablets 31.5%; and, TV 25%.
Mobile online payment users continued to grow in 2016 and reached 469 million, an increase of 31.2% YoY. The proportion of China internet users making mobile online payment increased to 67.5% in 2016 from 57.7% in 2015. 50.3% of China internet users use mobile devices for payment in offline retail stores.
China internet car-hailing users reached 168 million, an increase of 46.16 million or 37.9% from June 2016.
45.3% of Chinese companies deployed online sales activities; 45.6% online purchase; and, 38.7% online marketing. The number of public listed internet companies in China reached 91 with a total market value of 5.4 trillion yuan. The combined market value of Alibaba and Tencent exceeded 3 trillion yuan in 2016.