Wired China: The Power of the World's Largest Internet Population

Cate Riegner
Netpop Research, LLC

INTRODUCTION

This report examines differences in internet usage among people in China (estimated 228 million users) (CNNIC, 2008) and the United States (217 million) (Horrigan, 2008).

China has the world's largest internet population, and broadband penetration, currently at 76 percent, is growing at 28 percent CAGR (CNNIC, 2008). Although the addition of tens of millions of new Chinese broadband participants presents a challenge to businesses everywhere, Western marketers may have a slight advantage: the look, feel, and features of many Chinese websites are similar to those in the United States. For example, China's Baidu looks much like Google, and Taobao functions in much the same way as eBay. Yet there are key differences in the demographics and usage behaviors of China's “digital elite” that this article highlights.