China added more than 51 million new Internet users in 2012, largely due to the steady adoption of mobile devices that can connect to the web, according to new data from the China Internet Network Information Center.
The total number of online users in China is now 564 million, a 10 percent increase year-over-year. Not surprisingly, the biggest driver of added web users is from mobile. Mobile technology use jumped from 69.3 percent to 74.5 percent in the past year, meaning that just 25 percent of people accessing the web in China are doing so from traditional computing devices like desktops and laptops.
With 564 million people now online in China in some form, that means 42.1 percent of the country’s 1.3 billion people are surfing the web. During the past year, microblogging in China increased 6 percent, with 309 million people using services like Sina Weibo. The number of people engaged in online shopping in China jumped up to 242 million people.
The Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology recently estimated that China’s Internet population will hit about 800 million users by 2015.