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China's web population hits half a billion

China's population of web users has exceeded 500 million, fuelled in part by microblogging and online coupon sites
Written by Liau Yun Qing, Contributor

Microblogging and online buying through coupon sites each grew more than 200 percent in China last year, making these online activities the fastest growing in the country, according to an official report.

The report on internet development in China in 2011 was released on Monday by the China Internet Network Information Centre (CNNIC). It found that the country's web users recently exceeded 500 million, while microblogging grew 296 percent, from 63.1 million to 249.9 million, between 2010 and 2011. Similarly, online group buying using sites similar to the Groupon saw the number of users jump from 18.75 million to 64.65 million, a spike of 244.8 percent.

The CNNIC said that the microblogging scene in particular saw "explosive" growth in the first half of last year, although it 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, monetisation of the sites and implementation of the real-name rule as ordered by the government.

For more on this ZDNet UK-selected story, see China sees huge growth in internet use on ZDNet Asia.

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