Chinese Internet users grew an astounding 53% last year for a total of 210 million. China is now within a rounding error of the U.S., which today has more Internet users than any other nation.
The greatest growth came from users under 18 and over 30, CNNIC said. One of the most surprising statistics from the new report indicates that about 40 percent of users added over the last year, over 29 million, came from rural areas. Even in the January 2007 report, the vast majority of Chinese Netizens were based in major urban areas such as Beijing and Shanghai.
Also surprising among the new results is that China's most popular Internet application is online music, used by 86.6 percent of those surveyed, followed by instant messaging with 81 percent. E-mail placed only fifth, with 56.5 percent using it.
Chinese mobile phone users passed the U.S. several years ago and cellphones still are the prime mode of communication there.