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China has 457 million Internet users, a gain of 73 million in 2010

Hide your blogs! There are more than 457 million people on the Internet as of the end of 2010, according to new figures released by the China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC) and reported by Xinhua. That means 34 percent of Chinese citizens are now on the Net. China gained 73 million new users in the last year, or a 19 percent increase over 2009, when the country gained 86 million users, which was itself a 28 percent increase from 2008. Since 2007, when its explosive growth began, China has added 320 million Internet users, slightly more than the entire population of the United States (308 million).

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China now has the world’s largest Internet population, and one of the largest groups of mobile Internet users, with more than 303 million users logging in via smartphones or other mobile devices. Pretty impressive considering the U.S. only has 230 million people with Internet access.

Chinese users spent about 18 hours online each week. The most popular activities Chinese users currently participate in online are using search engines, reading news, and listening to music. Microblogging is becoming quite popular in the country as well, with more than 53 million people sharing their thoughts last year. Almost 19 million used group-buying Websites.

This usage data comes from a survey of 60,000 individuals, 5,103 businesses, almost 90,000 online questionnaires, and other sources.

Trouble ahead?

With so many new people joining the wired world each year, the Chinese Gov’t is going to have a difficult time maintaining its strict regime of Internet and mobile censorship in the years ahead. Soon, millions of Chinese citizens will become highly adept at evading censorship restrictions. It will be interesting to see how the Gov’t reacts to this escalating threat, though it seems to be keeping up thus far.

In other China news, the country announced a huge Eco City project the other day, which will house 350,000 people and be completely self-sustaining.