China’s internet population reached a whopping 530 million over the past six months, but its broadband subscriber base actually shrank as the mobile became the most popular way for users to get online for the first time.
The government’s latest twice-yearly data dump, the Statistical Report on Internet Development in China, recorded total internet users at 538m by the end of June, up from 513m in December and 438m a year ago. Of these, 380m were fixed broadband users, down from 396m in December, and 388m were mobile internet users, up from 356m.
From the all-time high of 450m broadband subscribers in December 2010, the number has fallen 15.5 per cent to its current level.
There are government pledges to invest over $200 billion in broadband and also long overdue signs that historically high prices will slide downwards.
However, for the time being just 20 per cent of China has speeds of over 2Mbps, placing it 78th globally, according to content delivery firm Akamai’s most recent State of the Internet report.