Number of internet users in China 2017-2023

China is home to the largest online community in the world. According to estimates, the Chinese internet population was around 840 million in 2019 and would surge up to 975 million by 2023. By comparison, the internet user-base of the United States was around 285 million in 2019. The country’s internet penetration rate is around 60 percent, indicating that two out of five Chinese are still offline.

Mobile-first kingdom

Affordable smartphones play an important role in China’s rising internet population. In 2019, over 90 percent of Chinese people accessed the internet through mobile phones. Messaging, watching videos, and listening to music are popular activities. In fact, Chinese mobile users spent over 70 percent of their daily time online. Out of the 600 million customers using online payment modes, 580 million preferred using mobile payment services. This large and engaged mobile internet population has provided a wide range of opportunities to hi-tech companies in China, including online dating and matchmaking business.

What’s next?

In 2018, around 27 percent of online users were living in rural China. To provide more affordable and faster internet services, measures have been carried out in the country to reduce service rates and extend the 1,000-Megabyte broadband connection to over 300 cities. In 2019, the government announced to roll out 5G networks in Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, and other major cities. The technology advancement would likely enhance internet accessibility in rural areas, further increasing the country’s internet user base.

Number of internet users in China from 2017 to 2023

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Release date

February 2019



Survey time period

2017 and 2018

Special properties

excluding Hong Kong

Supplementary notes

Internet users are individuals of any age who use the internet from any location via any device at least once per month.

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