China The Biggest: On The Web

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We knew it was coming, but China has now been confirmed as having the biggest online population in the world, as the BBC reports:

    “More than 253 million people in the country are now online, according to statistics from the China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC).

    The figure is higher than the 223 million that the US mustered in June, according to Nielsen Online.

    Net penetration in the US stands at 71% compared to 19% in China suggesting it will eventually vastly outstrip the US.

    …The 2008 figure is up 56% in a year, said CNNIC. Analysts expect the total to grow by about 18% per annum and hit 490 million by 2012.

    About 95% of those going online connect via high-speed links. Take up of broadband has been boosted by deals offered by China’s fixed line phone firms as they fight to win customers away from mobile operators.

    …Figures from Analysys International said China’s net firms reported total revenues of $5.9bn (£2.96bn) in 2007. By contrast net advertising revenue alone for US firms in 2007 stood at $21.2bn (£10.6bn).

Boston Consulting Group (BCG), in a new report, indicates the scale of the opportunity from a different persective. A MarketWatch article on the BCG report notes:

    “China’s Internet users spend an average of 2.7 hours a day surfing the Internet — or, collectively, just under 570 million hours daily.”

    “Many people in the West think that China is still early in its digital development. In fact, however, in many activities such as IM and online role-playing games, China is more advanced than the United States and other Western economies,” says Christoph Nettesheim, one of the report’s coauthors and a senior partner and managing director in BCG’s Beijing office.

    …although overall penetration remains much lower in China than in developed countries, a steep adoption curve will ensure continued growth for years. At current growth rates, the proportion of Chinese consumers with digital access could increase to 87 percent by 2015.

    …”China’s Digital Generations” has profound implications for all multinational companies that seek to access the Chinese consumer. “Many western MNCs in China are spending heavily on traditional forms of advertising,” said coauthor David C. Michael, a senior partner and managing director and head of BCG’s Greater China practice, also in the firm’s Beijing office. “They risk losing touch with their target Chinese consumers, because increasingly these consumers are online — not watching TV or reading newspapers. MNCs in China need to revolutionize their thinking about how to reach and build relationships with Chinese consumers.”

Long live the (digital) revolution!

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2 Responses to “China The Biggest: On The Web”

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