It was only a matter of time before it happened, but according to a new report from BDA China, China's Internet usage has surpassed the U.S, with estimates of 233 million Internet users as of the end of March.
It's pretty remarkable to consider that when I wrote my first blog on "China's Great Firewall" over two years ago, China only had about 111 million Internet users. In just two years, that number has more than doubled, though official estimates through the CNNIC (China Internet Network Information Center) won't be published for a few more months.
While China has over two hundred million Internet users, with improved technology and infrastructure, it's only a matter of time before the number of Internet users is closer to the 535 million mobile phone users, according to official statistics.
Today, in most major cities like Beijing and Shanghai, I can take my U.S.-based cell phone and surf the Internet courtesy of a China Mobile or China Unicom network. Considering this technology, it's not too much time before most mobile phone users worldwide use their phones as a primary way to go online.
Bloomberg News reported that Google is tapping into China's mobile phone technology to gain a competitive edge over Internet giant Baidu. Google China President Lee Kai-Fu told Bloomberg he expects most web searches to be done by cell phones in just three years, so their new exclusive partnership with leading cell phone provider China Mobile could prove extremely lucrative.
It's incredible to think of the way the evolution of these technologies continue to shape our world and redefine our conception of communication. The changing technology and modes of communication aren't without negative baggage. On the other hand, they also have the potential for many new possibilities.
If you're interested in China's Internet development, here are some past offerings from CBN News:
210 Million Internet Users and Counting . . .
China's Growing Web Addiction
Which is Worse: Heroin Addiction of Internet Addiction?
China's Internet Addiction
China's Great Firewall