China Internet Network Information Center has published a new statistics report, stating that there were 250 million microblog users in China by the end of 2011, a year-on-year increase of 296%.

Meanwhile, the use of traditional Internet communication applications like email and forums saw significant declines. Microblogging has become one of the most important Internet applications in China in just one year, and it is claimed to used by nearly half of Chinese netizens.

According to the report, by the end of December 2011, the number of Chinese microblog users increased by 296% year-on-year to 250 million, and the usage rate by netizens reached 48.7%. At the same time, the usage of email decreased from 54.6% in 2010 to 47.9%; the usage of Internet forum decreased from 32.4% to 28.2%; and the usage of blog and personal space decreased from 64.4% to 62.1%.

The report also pointed out that the social networking sites in China are exploring various areas to increase user loyalty. The country’s major social networking sites all made expansions or adjustments to their long-term strategies in 2011.

In regards to the development of microblogs in China, CNNIC analyzed that the current development of microblogs is diversified, and it focuses on the social networking functions and social media functions. Second, the profit models of microblogs is yet to be discovered; however, various attempts have been made to realize profits. Finally, supervision measures will have important influences on the development of microblogs in 2012.