China's Internet 2015 Snapshot – In Praise of China

China’s Internet 2015 Snapshot

We think of China as a developed country, but it's not. It really is a developing country, as you can see in this year's China's Internet 2015 Snapshot. If this year's snapshot looks blurry it's because China's moving so fast with such momentum. We'll learn why China's connectivity is so slow after we discover why China's internet is so darn huge. Here's what has to say about its growth and size:

China’s internet is massive. How massive? According to a new report from CNNIC, more than 668 million people are now using the web in China. That means that were China’s internet a country, it would be the third-largest country on earth, behind only India and China itself. In fact, China’s internet has more people than the two next-largest countries, Indonesia and the United States, combined.

Unsurprisingly, the vast majority of these people are accessing the web (at least some of the time) via their phones. CNNIC says that China has 594 million mobile web users, and that 88.9 percent of mobile phone users are now using their phones to go online. Amazingly, despite that, internet penetration in China is still below 50 percent. There are another 700 million people in China who haven’t even come online yet.

CNNIC’s report speaks to the amazing size and growth of China’s internet, but it should also be a wake-up call to those China observers who believe the entire country is as developed as Beijing and Shanghai. Even with the recent urbanization, China’s rural population still exceeds 600 million according to 2014 World Bank data, and CNNIC says that just 27.9 percent of those people are online.

Moreover, rural web development is happening fairly slowly; China’s rural web users have grown by just 8 million over the past six months, according to CNNIC. At that rate, it will be 2022 before even half of China’s rural residents are online (although admittedly the rural internet penetration growth rate is likely to speed up, not remain static). (And yes, we're serious about ethics and transparency. More information here.)


China's Internet Speed Akamai Rankings.

China is getting better bang for its buck than most developing countries. Their average wage ranks them at 57th. in the world but their average broadband speed lifts them to 41st. So the Communications Ministry seems to be keeping to plan. As you saw in that Techinasia report, they're scrambling to stay up with the rapid urbanization of 200,000,000 people. Ultimately, the minister is responisble for installing or upgrading millions of users a month forever. 

Here are the world broadband rankings and speed in megabytes:

32  Thailand 6.6 Mb
33  Italy 5.5
34  Turkey 5.5
35  Uruguay 5.5
36  United Arab Emirates 4.7
37  Argentina 4.2
38  Mexico 4.1
39  Malaysia 4.1
40  Chile 4.1
41  China 3.8
42  Indonesia 3.7
43  Ecuador 3.6

Why?​ Because of Average Annual Wages: 

49  Panama $831
50  Mauritius $783
51  Brazil $778
52  Macau $758
53  Kazakhstan $753
54  Bulgaria $750
55  Colombia $692
56  Ukraine $686
57  China $656
58  Mexico $609

The Chinese are getting bang for their tax bucks by getting better connectivity than richer countries. 

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