China is a big f*cking deal

In late July, the China Internet Network Information Center (CINIC) released figures claiming there are more than 250m Internet users in China, making China the most connected country in the world by volume. Given China’s sheer size and economic growth, this had been widely predicted; however, the most intriguing thing, as discussed in an article in this week’s Economist Technology Quarterly, is that China also boasts the highest number of mobile phone users of any country, around 600m.

Looking into the stats, we find that 29% of Chinese Internet users are using their mobile phones to access the Internet, so that’s 73m Chinese people surfing from their mobiles. And how fast is that number growing? CINIC says 45% in the six months to June, which suggests 210% annual growth. Opera says it has seen a 300% growth in China over the last year. It is widely believed that this pattern will be repeated all over the developing world.

With statistics like this, I’m thinking that the smart money is backing companies with a mobile web strategy, especially a Chinese one. If the mobile web in China continues to grow at this rate for one more year, it will break 200m people. That’s more than twice the number of connections across all devices in 18 of the world’s top 20 connected countries.