Online is the new Offline

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China’s online population has reportedly exceeded 400 million users; or approximately one third of the entire mainland Chinese population. Weighing in at 404 million total users, 233 million are said to be accessing the internet from their mobile phones, with a further 364 million connecting via broadband.

Wow! I wish I could read Chinese characters to come up with some funky cool concept and sell it to them myself. There has to be massive money making potential with such a gigantic online populace.

So what are all these 400 million people doing exactly? I would be interested to see this particular break-down as I suspect a good 300 million are doing nothing other than wasting hours chatting on QQ, or messing around in Ren Ren; China’s own version of facebook. While many Chinese work long hours, many more spend those hours chatting online – or sleeping. It’s a regular part of a Chinese working day to nap after lunchtime – something I sorely wish would catch on in Western countries also.

And how exactly does the all-controlling Chinese government intend to keep a reign on this? Sure, the Great Firewall of China is a daily annoyance to most Chinese web browsers, but there are plenty of ways around it. You can only control so much in the online world, and as the general population becomes increasingly net savvy, that control will slip further.

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