China Gets Wired... But Digital Divide Exists

from the the-power-of-large-numbers dept

The internet is growing in China, as they now have 87 million people online, though they are apparently connecting through just 36.3 million internet connected computers. The number of Chinese netizens puts them firmly in second place, though just about everyone expects them to take first place before long. That 87 million represents just 6.6% of the population, which may point to a bigger issue. While the US worries about the "digital divide," it looks like a much bigger issue in China. Internet usage is much more common in more developed areas, and many seem worried that less developed areas will get left even further behind. While the Chinese government has tried to go online, the study found that most such sites are unused, and many government officials prefer not to use their own websites. None of this is particularly surprising, but it's still interesting to see the data.

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Jul 2004 @ 6:58pm

    Mostly through internet cafes.

    From the numbers alone, it's clear that most people get access through
    an internet cafe instead of a computer at home.
    I was there last year, the internet cafes was populated mostly with
    young males using the machines for what the article called leisure
    activities. In other words, the guys were playing Counter-Strike or
    some similar linked FPS game...
    I just used it to check the web-based email and hit like
    most people would do according to the article.
    The cafes are more numerous, had the "lived-in" look (think video arcade),
    but otherwise aren't much different from the public ones you see here in
    the US.
    To get an idea about the ten yuan(US$1.20) figure per month, 1-2 yuan will
    get you one hour. One could imagine that most people are stopping by
    the corner cafe to check email and surf once a week or so.
    My SO has been talking to her relatives over there and they tell her that
    the machines over at their internet cafe are now equipped with a webcam.
    I'll be picking up a webcam for the home rig today...

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