China Internet Network Information Center recently published its 31st Internet survey report, stating that by the end of December 2012, the number of Internet users in China had reached 564 million and the Internet penetration rate was 42.1%, which was 3.8 percentage points higher than 2011.

For the mobile sector, the number of Chinese mobile Internet users reached 420 million by the end of December 2012, marking a net increase of about 64.4 million year-over-year. Compared with 2011, mobile Internet users who used the online shopping service increased by 6.6%. Apart from Internet shopping, several other mobile Internet services also gained development. The ratio of mobile group buying users increased by 1.7%; that of mobile Internet payment users increased by 4.6%; and that of mobile banking service users increased by 4.7%.

In the entire Internet market, online shopping and group buying still maintained high growth rates. By December 2012, the scale of Chinese Internet shopping users reached 242 million people and the usage rate of Internet shopping increased to 42.9%.

It was emphasized by the report that in 2012, about 70.6% Chinese netizens visit the Internet via desktop computers, which declined by nearly 3% year-over-year. The ratio of those who visit the Internet via laptops also saw a slight decrease to 45.9%. Meanwhile, users who visit the Internet via mobile phones increased from 69.3% to 74.5%.

The report also showed that the ratio of users who accessed the Internet at Internet cafes and schools saw significant declines of 5.5 percentage points and three percentage points, respectively.