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UPDATED: June 9, 2010
Full Text: The Internet in China


II. Promoting the Extensive Use of the Internet

The Internet is helping promote the economic and social development of China. In the economic sector, the Internet has spread its influence into traditional industry, which leads to the emergence of new business models and service economy, generating new types of industries. The Internet is playing an increasingly important role in promoting economic restructuring and transforming the pattern of economic development. It has become an indispensable tool in people's life, work and studying, exerting a profound influence on every aspect of social life.

The Internet has become an engine promoting the economic development of China. IT including the Internet and its industry has made significant contributions to the rapid growth of the Chinese economy. In the past 16 years the average growth rate of the added value of Chinese IT industry grew at over 26.6% annually, with its proportion in the national economy increasing from less than 1% to 10%. The combination of the Internet and the real economy, the reform and enhancement of traditional industry through IT, have given an impetus to the restructuring of traditional industry and changing of the pattern of its development. In China, the application of informationization in industrial design R&D, digitalization of production equipment, intelligent production processes and network-based operation and management are rapidly enhanced. The development and application of the Internet has given rise to the emergence of many new industries. Services for the development of industries such as industrial counseling, software service and outsourcing are mushrooming. The role of IT in promoting independent innovation, energy conservation, emission reduction and environmental protection has become ever more prominent. The Internet has emerged as a new strategic industry in China's development of low-carbon economy. In 2008 Internet-related industries generated a turnover of 650 billion yuan, with sales of Internet-related equipment reaching 500 billion yuan-worth, accounting for 1/60 of China's GDP, and 1/10 of its global trade. Its software operations had a turnover of 19.84 billion yuan, up 26% over 2007.

E-commerce is undergoing rapid development. The e-commerce of large enterprises has expanded from online information release, purchase and sales to integrated online web design, manufacture and management between upstream and downstream enterprises. Small and medium-sized enterprises have strengthened their awareness of the application of e-commerce, and the number of enterprises using e-commerce is on a steady increase. Online retailing is expanding quickly, and its market is being gradually regulated. According to a sample survey, over 50% of big enterprises have established e-commerce system, over 30% of small and medium-sized companies find their product suppliers through the Internet, 24% of them are engaged in marketing via the Internet, and there are over 100 million online buyers in China. In 2009 the trade volume of e-commerce in China surpassed 3.6 trillion yuan-worth. Specialized e-commerce services are taking shape. The supporting systems such as digital authentication, e-payment and logistics are being gradually formed.

The Internet also helps promote the development of the culture industry. Online gaming, animation, music and videos are emerging rapidly, greatly multiplying the overall strength of the Chinese culture industry. In the past five years, the average annual increase rate of online advertisement has maintained a level of 30%, with its turnover reaching 20 billion yuan in 2009. The online gaming industry in China had a turnover of 25.8 billion yuan in 2009, an increase of 39.5% over 2008, ranking top in the world. Online literature, music, radio and television in China have all witnessed rapid development. The increasingly expanding cyber culture consumption is encouraging the birth of many new industries and spurring the growth of the business income of telecommunications services. By March 2010 more than 30 Chinese Internet-related companies had been listed in the United States and Hong Kong, as well as on China's mainland. Cyber culture has become an important component of the Chinese culture industry. The Chinese government puts great efforts into spreading China's splendid national culture via the Internet, by initiating a series of projects for the sharing of cultural resources and establishing over 300,000 online databases nationwide so as to effectively satisfy the varied spiritual and cultural needs of the people.

The Internet serves to publicize government information. In the mid-1990s the Government Online Project was launched. By the end of 2009 China had established more than 45,000 government portals. Seventy-five central and state organs, 32 provincial governments and 333 prefectural governments and over 80% county-level governments had set up their websites, providing various online services to facilitate people's work and life. The building of e-government has substantially improved the work efficiency and transparency of government information. Article 15 of the Regulations of the People's Republic of China on the Disclosure of Government Information, which was promulgated and put into force in 2008, stipulates, "Government agencies should take the initiative to disclose government information and should be disclosed by means of government gazettes, government websites and press conferences, as well as through newspapers and magazines, radio, television and other methods that make it convenient for the public to be informed." The central government requires governments at all levels to establish corresponding mechanisms and give prompt explanations to issues of public concern. Governments at all levels are making every effort to improve the government spokesman system. By promptly releasing authoritative information through all kinds of media including the Internet, government spokesmen brief the public on the implementation of related policies, and on responses to natural disasters, and public health and social emergencies. The role of the Internet in satisfying people's right to know has become increasingly prominent.

The Internet has become an indispensable tool in people's everyday life. According to a sample survey, in 2009 alone about 230 million people in China gathered information using search engines, 240 million communicated through real-time telecommunications devices, 46 million received education with the help of the Internet, 35 million conducted securities trading on the Internet, 15 million sought jobs through the Internet, and 14 million arranged trips via the Internet. In China more and more people are collecting information, enriching their knowledge, establishing businesses and realizing their aspirations, and communicating to know each other better through the Internet. Soon after earthquakes hit Wenchuan in Sichuan Province and Yushu in Qinghai Province, and a severe drought plagued southwest China, netizens used the Internet to spread disaster relief information, initiate rescue efforts and express sympathy and concern, fully demonstrating the irreplaceable role of the Internet. The Internet has revolutionized our way of work and lifestyle.

The Chinese government encourages the use of the Internet in ways which aim to promote economic and social progress, to improve public services and facilitate people's work and life, and steps up its efforts to build a well-structured and balanced use of the Internet, improves its advancement and application. The Chinese government will vigorously promote the development of websites featuring e-commerce and education, give impetus to the building of e-government, advocate the development of emerging media such as online radio and online television, and call for the provision of varied and rich Internet information services to satisfy the diversified, multi-leveled needs of information consumption.

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