Microblogs, online group buying grow fastest in China

Microblogging and group buying fastest growing activities but instant messaging still most widely used among Chinese online users, which recently exceeded 500 million, Chinese agency reveals.

Microblogging and group buying in China each grew more than 200 percent each in 2011, making these online activities the fastest growing in the country that recently exceeded more than 500 million Web users, according to an official report.Instant messaging continued to be most widely used among Chinese users, though.

The China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC) released a report Monday on Internet development in the country last year, stating that microblogging grew 296 percent, or from 63.1 million to 249.9 million, between 2010 and 2011. Similarly, online group buying saw the number of users jump from 18.75 million to 64.65 million representing a 244.8 percent spike during the timeframe, it stated.

The CNNIC pointed that the microblogging scene, in particular, saw "explosive" growth in the first half of last year but growth slowed in the latter half. It added that the future of microblogs in China will depend on three factors, namely the competition between the different platforms, monetization of the sites and implementation of the real-name rule as ordered by the government.

That said, the top online activity continues to be instant messaging, with 415.1 million users by end-2011 which meant a rise of 17.7 percent from 2010's 352.6 million, the agency stated.

In terms of China's online population, it reached 513 million by the end of December 2011, the report noted. It also meant eight million online users were added to the population in just a month, as Reuters reported that there were 505 million Web users in November.  

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