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Trends in Internet Use – China

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In celebration of the Lunar New Year which fell on Monday, we have reviewed current trends in internet use in China. Happy Chinese New Year from us to you!

Over 50% of the population are online

China is entering 2016 having reached a milestone in the number of netizens, for the first time over half of the population are online. The country has seen the number of internet users steadily growing, almost doubling since 2009.

688 million people are now online and the country takes the top spot for the largest number of internet users in the world. Although that said, the percentage of people with internet access trails the world leaders, where the top ten stand at over 90%.

Growth in internet wealth management

With internet usage growing, wealth management has become a key area of growth in China. Stocks trading has experience 54% growth, online payment 37% and banking 19%.

Figures from Nielsen’s Financial Tracking Report indicate trust in online finance tools in the Chinese market. Only 12% of respondents were investing in products offered by traditional banks but 45% in internet based wealth management tools.

7/10 internet users are on mobile

Of these new users, 7/10 love mobile and are accessing the internet for the first time on their phones. This shows the Chinese internet population to be predominantly mobile native, which could help explain the huge amount of success that mobile commerce is experiencing in the country.

Instant messaging

Chinese internet users love to instant message. WeChat has an extremely well developed mobile commerce offering, seriously monetising on the popularity of messaging in China.

Chat plaforms are the most installed on Chinese phones. WeChat is number one, with 81% of mobile phone owners using it and a staggering 700 million monthly active users. QQ, another chat app, sits in the number two spot, having been installed on 76% of mobiles.

Ecommerce is huge

China is a mobile-first, lucrative market in terms of e-Commerce. PWC found 14% of Chinese  shop online everyday and Export.Gov predicts  by 2020 China’s e-Commerce market is projected to reach 634 million.By that year, China’s eCommerce market is predicted to be larger than those of the U.S., UK, Japan, Germany, and France combined, according to Dezan Shira & Associates.

Singles Day

Online giant Alibaba – who hold 80% of the Chinese e-Commerce market – started promoting China’s Singles Day as a shopping day in 2009 and it is now the biggest online shopping event of the year. It takes place on 11th November each year and started as an obscure “anti-Valentine’s” celebration for single Chinese in the Nineties.

Since then it has become the biggest 24-hour online shopping event in the calendar, and has been replicated at home and abroad, with Singles’ Day promotions found at rivals such as China’s and Pinduoduo as well as South Korea’s 11thStreet and Singapore’s Qoo10.

There was a 60% increase in Alibaba’s online sales in 2016 on Singles Day and more than $17.79 billion sales came from GMV.  With internet users steadily rising it is likely these figures will increase again in 2016.

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