Here are some latest figures I think you need to know. The data is provided by CNNIC (China Internet Network Information Center), which is the administrative agency responsible for Internet affairs under the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) in China. It also manages the .cn country domain extension as well as internationalized domain names containing Chinese characters.
The center conducts surveys on internet and domain name usage twice a year since 1997, and publishes the result in a report called “Statistical Report on Internet Development in China” in January and July. The latest issue is #38 which is available in Chinese only. (The English translation is usually available few months later, and you can find them at http://cnnic.com.cn/IDR/ReportDownloads/)
Here are some important figures taken from issue #38. For comparison, I’ve also included figures published one year ago.
China had 710 million internet users as of June this year. Compared with the 668 million a year ago, the increase is about 6%, which is quite decent. If you look at China’s 1,390 million population, the current penetration ratio of 52% suggests there is still a lot of room for internet growth.
Among the 710 million internet users, 93% of them go online from their mobile phones, and this ratio has increased from 90% a year ago. This indicates mobile phone is extremely important and internet businesses in China must be mobile phone ready. Now, note that the same user may access the internet using multiple devices. As a result, 65% of the internet users also go online from their desktop PC.
The total number of domain names in China is 37 million, which is a massive increase (66%) over the 22 million reported a year ago. I think this high growth will continue, thanks to continued increase in savvy internet users, the ongoing internet startups boom, and strong government initiatives such as “Mass Entrepreneurship and Innovation” and “Internet Plus.”
All in all, China presents a rapidly growing domain market which will continue to offer investors a lot of opportunities.