The number of Internet users in China has reached 137 million, and with double-digit annual growth projected, the country is poised to overtake the United States in total number of users within a few years, a researcher said. Based on figures supplied by the China Network Information Center , the country’s Internet population grew by 18% in 2004 and 2005, and 23% in 2006, the Pew Internet & American Life Project said in a recent report. Those numbers translate into 26 million new users in 2006, and 57 million over the last three years.
By comparison, growth in the United States, which has reached a far greater level of maturity in Internet use, has amounted to between 7 million and 9 million adults and teenagers since 2005. The total number of Internet users in the United States today is estimated at 165 million to 210 million, with current growth rates not expected to change much. The CNNIC, on the other hand, expects China’s growth to remain in the double digits, driving the number of Web users to 210 million by the beginning of 2009, the Pew report said. [Full Text]