The number of people using the internet in China reached 900 million as of March, 2020, an increase of 75 million from the end of 2018. Around 710 million Chinese people shopped online in 2019, and 37 percent of them were live-streaming shoppers, according to a report published on Tuesday by the China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC) on internet development in China.
With 900 million internet users, China now ranks first in the world, followed by India with 560 million and the US with 313 million, according to Internet World Stats.
China's internet penetration rate has reached 64.5 percent, up 4.9 percent from 2018. More than 99 percent of users surf the internet via mobile phones, the report said.
Qin An, head of the Beijing-based Institute of China Cyberspace Strategy, attributed the growth of China's internet usage to the widespread popularity of smartphones and development of the internet industry in the country.
Qin also noted that online applications play an increasingly important role in people's everyday lives.
Short videos, livestreams, ecommerce, online payments and other applications have reduced the threshold of internet use and enriched people's entertainment, said Zeng Yu, director of CNNIC.
As of March, 2020, 710 million people shopped online, an increase of 100 million compared to 2018. The transaction volume reached 10.63 trillion yuan ($1.5trillion), up 16.5 percent year on year, leading the world's largest digital consumer market for seven consecutive years.
Among all online shoppers, about 265 million shop through watching live broadcasting on ecommerce platforms, accounting for 47 percent of livestreaming users.
Livestreaming ecommerce has become a new driver for China's online consumption by activating users' perceptual consumption and making real-time interaction to improve users' experience and stimulate their desire to purchase, said the report.
The report also presents the income structure of Chinese internet users.
About 72 percent of internet users in China (about 650 million people) have a monthly income of around 5,000 yuan ($715). Meanwhile, 33 percent have an income ranging from 2001 yuan ($285) to 5000 yuan, and 21 percent earn less than 1,000 yuan ($140) every month, according to the report.
CNNIC said that they conducted the survey via phone interviews with respondents selected among residents aged six or above who have used the internet in the past six months in the Chinese mainland.