For some time, we have been engaged in the task of improving the way Internet users are counted. We are in agreement with the ITU that the best way of counting Internet users is through demand-side surveys. According to reports, China conducts regular surveys on Internet use. Yet, the ITU does not use these data. Why?
The latest comprehensive survey on Internet Development in China (the 30th bi-annual report), released in Mandarin in July 2012 by the China Internet Network Center (CNNIC), a non-profit state agency, puts the number of internet users in China at the end of June 2012 at 538 million (nearly 40% of the population). The 29th CNNIC survey report, available in English, put the number of internet users in China at the end of December 2011 at 513 million. The bi-annual CNNIC surveys, which began in 1997, have provided rich data on internet penetration and uses across geographies, and demographic and socio-economic groups in the world’s most populous country.
Twice a year, in January and July, www.cnnic.cn http://www1.cnnic.cn releases free of charge in Mandarin and then, with some delay, in English (http://www1.cnnic.cn/en/index/0O/index.htm) the survey findings. The English text of the CNNIC 29th survey report, and the 30th survey report (in Mandarin) are posted here, as pdf files.