BEIJING: The number of internet users in China rose by nearly 30% last year, while the mobile web has also enjoyed a surge in uptake in the world's most populous nation.

According to figures from the China Internet Network Information Center, the online audience in the rapidly-developing economy climbed to 384 million people by the end of 2009, up by 28.9% on an annual basis.

Moreover, some 233 million people utilised their mobile phones to access the net last year, compared with 120 million consumers who did so during the previous 12 months.

The launch of 3G services in the Asian country was the main driver of this latter trend, with firms including China MobileGoogle, Apple and Nokia being among the main players in the wireless market at present.

CNNIC reported that the online penetration rate stood at 28.9% in China in 2009, with 87.9 million shoppers buying goods via this channel.

iResearch, the consultancy, has estimated that the revenues generated from advertising, games, shopping and other similar activities on the web expanded by 30% last year, to 73.4 billion yuan ($10.8bn; €7.5bn; £6.6bn).

This total is expected to improve to 112.3 billion yuan in 2010, and grow to 273.4 billion yuan by 2013.

Data sourced from Shanghai Daily/AFP; additional content by Warc staff