BEIJING: In its latest forecast, the Data Center of China Internet reported Monday that Chinese citizens will this year spend Yuan 364 billion ($51.52bn; €37.82bn; £25.55bn) on the purchase of goods and services online - an increase of 32% on last year's total of Yuan 276bn.

According to Fu Zhihua, director of the DCCI research department, China currently has 144 million internet users, second only to the USA, and will continue to add surfers at the rate of around twenty million annually.

On a per capita basis, the Chinese spent a monthly average of Yuan 186 online in H1 2007, a figure predicted to reach Yuan 196 for this year as a whole, and a 15.4% increase on 2006.

Online advertising revenues unsurprisingly kept pace with the surge in surfers, reaching Yuan 3.3bn in the year's first half - a figure that equals the whole of 2005. Total online adspend for 2007 is expected to reach Yuan 7.6bn.

The principal search engines permitted to operate in the People's Paradise - Google, Baidu and Yahoo! - posted revenues of Yuan 1.15bn in the first half. The whole-year figure is expected reach Yuan 2.7bn.

Data sourced from People's Daily Online (China); additional content by WARC staff