BEIJING: The number of internet users in China has increased by 13.4% this year, to 338 million, meaning the country's online audience has now surpassed that in the US, the China Internet Network Information Center says.

According to the organisation's figures, the internet penetration rate currently stands at 25.5% in China, up from 22.6% at the end of 2008, out of a total potential online audience of 1.3 billion.

By contrast, the penetration level in the US is just over 70% at present according to Pew Internet and the American Life Project, while the US Census Bureau estimates 308 million Americans regularly access this media channel.

Over 80% of Chinese netizens log on to the web at home, while just 5% do so at work, and some 155 million consumers use the mobile internet.

Students make up 31.7% of the online population, while the number of Chinese engaging in eCommerce also rose from 74 million in December 2008 to 87.9 million at the end of June.

In terms of the most popular online activity, 85.5% of the user base in the country employs the medium to listen to or download music, with 78.7% viewing the latest news content.

A further 72.2% take part in instant messaging, with 69.4% using search engines, 65.8% watching online video, and 53.8% writing or reading blogs.

Data sourced from Wall Street Journal/DigitalEastAsia; additional content by WARC staff