China spends big on the internet

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Online spending in China rose almost 60 per cent in the first six months of the year, new research reveals.

Surfers spent US$37.52bn on internet services in the first six months of the year, the Data Center of China Internet reported, according to the government-controlled Xinhua news agency.

Separately, the China Internet Network Information Center reported that online shopping in China's 19 largest cities increased to $2.37bn in the first half of the year.

Almost 30 per cent of internet users in those cities made an online purchase during this period. Shanghai residents were the most comfortable online, 45 per cent of whom bought something on the internet.

Overall spending on internet services increased 58.2 per cent in the first six months of 2008, compared to the same period one year earlier. Spending is predicted to reach more than US$86bn for the whole year.

Web users visited fewer websites, but spent more time at each site. Popular activities included online games and shopping.

China's estimated online population of more than 220 million makes it the largest in the world, according to official data. The number of internet users is expected to grow to 263 million by the end of the year.
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