The population of China's internet users has reached 1 billion, accounting for one in five of the world's users, while less than 30 percent of them earn 5,000 yuan ($774) and above monthly, according to a latest survey.
The report, published by the China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC) on Wednesday, said the proportions of netizens who are under 20 or above 50 years of age have increased significantly. Online retail sales reached 11.76 trillion yuan ($1.8 trillion) in 2020, up 10.9 percent from 2019. This means that since 2013, China has been the world's largest online retail market for eight consecutive years.
Amid the unexpected COVID-19 epidemic in 2020, the internet has shown its immense power and played a key role in epidemic prevention and control. The report says that during the epidemic, the health code has been applied for by nearly 900 million people and used more than 40 billion times. The figures indicate that big data has played a prominent role in epidemic prevention and control and the resumption of work and production.
The report also finds that online live broadcasting has become a new digital economy model that has seen vigorous development. Livestreaming e-commerce has become a popular form of shopping among users, with 66.2 percent of the netizens having purchased products on livestreaming platforms.
Zeng Yu, director of CNNIC, said the growth reflects the booming development of internet applications and the continuous improvement in digital industrialization.
Zeng hailed the key roles played by sound internet infrastructure and abundance of apps in combating COVID-19, with online news services and social networking platforms providing information to people in a timely manner and helping curb the spread of the virus.
Working remotely, online education services also contributed to the reset of the society and helped boost economic recovery, Zeng said. "By December 2020, 346 million people have worked remotely, up 147 million from June 2020."
Zhang Xiao, deputy director of CNNIC, said the internet has also given strong support to the country in the country's poverty alleviation efforts.
"So far, 98 percent of the poverty-stricken villages are connected to the internet and 832 poverty-stricken counties are covered by e-commerce services. In terms of online education, the number of primary and secondary schools in China with internet connection has reached 99.7 percent," Zhang said.