China said Thursday the number of Internet users in what is already the world’s largest online market had jumped to 450 million — more than a third of the country’s 1.3-billion-strong population.
“By the end of November, the number of netizens had reached 450 million, a rise of 20.3 percent compared to the same period last year,” Wang Chen, minister for the press office of the State Council, China’s cabinet, said.
The figure marks an increase of 30 million — more than the population of Peru — since the number of web users was last given in July.
“The coverage rate of the Internet in China is 33.9 percent — above the world average of 30 percent,” Wang told a press conference.
“These figures show the environment for the development of the Internet in China is sound,” he said.
China’s spiralling online population has turned the Internet into a forum for citizens to express their opinions in a way rarely seen in a country where the traditional media is under strict government control.