China’s Urbanites Take to the Internet in Droves

The good people over at Statista provided us with yet another excellent China infographic, this time about the country’s huge online population. Already, 1 in 5 worldwide internet users is Chinese, yet still less than half of the country’s population is online. Most of those are people living in China’s urban areas, accounting for 73.5% of those online. That statistic and the overall number of people using the internet is bound to increase with the technological advantages that urban areas continue to afford over rural areas.

The world of microblogging is also exploding. China’s version of Twitter, called Weibo, is already a paradigm-changing social phenomenon with over 300 million registered users. Although strict government controls routinely restrict searches for sensitive topics, savvy netizens find ways around these blockades through the use of aliases and codewords. For instance, while the ongoing saga surrounding the recent escape of blind dissident Chen Guangcheng from house arrest has led authorities to block searches for his name, Weibo users are creatively microblogging around the sensors .

It might be too early to assess the full extent of influence that widespread internet use has on Chinese society, but it is safe to assume that it has already changed the social landscape in significant ways.

2 comments

  1. I am new to your impressive blog. My interest priority is historic preservation so am hoping to learn from your blog about historic architecture, from modest to grand, with perhaps more interest in the modest and less grand, and historic neighborhood preservation, including street grids and neighborhood commercial areas, in China. Preservation is a critical component of environmental conservation, for a number of what should be obvious reasons. Destroying the historic built environment is not good for the environment; I am pleased that historic preservation programs have contributed as much as they have to environmental conservation, although they are not valued in that way in general.

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