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China Cellphones The Internet

China Has More People Going Online With a Mobile Device Than a PC 58

Posted by samzenpus
from the surfing-on-the-go dept.
An anonymous reader points out that even though China's internet adoption rate is the lowest it's been in 8 years, the number of people surfing the net from a mobile device has never been higher. "The number of China's internet users going online with a mobile device — such as a smartphone or tablet — has overtaken those doing so with a personal computer (PC) for the first time, said the official China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC) on Monday. China's total number of internet users crept up 2.3 percent to 632 million by the end of June, from 618 million at the end of 2013, said CNNIC's internet development statistics report. Of those, 527 million — or 83 percent — went online via mobile. Those doing so with a PC made up 81 percent the total. China is the largest smartphone market in the world, and by 2018 is likely to account for nearly one-third of the expected 1.8 billion smartphones shipped that year, according to data firm IDC.
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China Has More People Going Online With a Mobile Device Than a PC

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  • So (Score:4, Funny)

    by StripedCow (776465) on Monday July 21, 2014 @09:33AM (#47500405)

    Does that mean that TOR is available for mobile phones now too?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    We all know this is the future, but a scary one. Webapps, 'cloud' with insane caps, and closed ecosystems.

    • by alen (225700)

      only if you have nothing else to do with a phone or tablet except listen to music or watch netflix 24x7

    • by s.petry (762400) on Monday July 21, 2014 @10:40AM (#47500929)

      Partial truth, but nobody has mentioned the most obvious reason for this to be true in China. Money! PCs in the US and Europe are pretty cheap, but not in China. Remember that the cost of a PC is not just in capital, but a support structure. Houses in China are rare, apartments dominate the landscape so the few that can afford them may not have a place to put them. Remember that these are not large apartments. If you have very little disposable income, you are going to purchase _either_ a phone phone or a PC. Not both. You also need to pay for support for the hardware, operating system, and purchase applications (rare in China I agree, but the Government there does have some rules it can choose to enforce). This is why computer boutiques are common in all over Asia, not just China. PCs are expensive, phones are cheap.

      I agreed in part because phones are the future landscape for Internet use by consumers. In fact that "future" is already prevalent. In business, absolutely not with current technology. Anyone actually working in IT today requires fast processing and multiple displays. Tablets are not powerful enough for a developer today, which pushes phones further out. If phones are ever developed enough to take over business space, they won't be considered phones any longer. Angry birds works fine on a Phone, running a large mysql query and working with the data not so much (let alone trying to compile a client that does this, or running a mysql server for more than a few clients).

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        You think that is the root cause?

        I guess from all the time you spent in China you failed to notice something subtle yet important.
        There was never really an infrastructure build-out for land based services (phone/tv).

        Since they never wired for cable TV/Home phones how do you suppose they get home-internet working?

        Cell phones are everywhere since they are fairly cheap and the primary way they have phone service (unless you want to stand in line at the post office).

        PS
        I think you are also off on the apartment

        • by s.petry (762400)

          *Sigh* nothing like selective reading. You simply extrapolated on something I mentioned so that I was not writing a thesis, and pretended that I did not mention it. Remember that the cost of a PC is not just in capital, but a support structure

          Most apartments in China are not the variety you are mentioning that are former Government apartments.

        • by nukenerd (172703)

          I own what was once a state-owned apartment in a decent sized Chinese city ... The place has two bedrooms with a combined tv/dining room. Both bedrooms are reasonably sized .. with space for a desk and chair. I don't see why they cant put a computer on the desks?

          Sounds like a rabbit hutch to me. Maybe fine if a computer is the only thing you need room for, but some people have other parts to their lives.

      • by mlts (1038732)

        I wonder how long it will be for a phone to take over the desktop role in a meaningful way (assuming a docking station). We have had some attempts at this, especially with the Motorola Atrix line (RIP) which were pretty good, although the best use (IMHO) was a Citrix receiver [1].

        Already, we are seeing the tablet/desktop line blur, as Microsoft's Surface Pro [2] models get better. I wouldn't be surprised to see in a few years, a phone with 256-512 GB of SSD be usable in a docking station for basic desktop

      • by Ravaldy (2621787)

        You nailed it on the head.

        We are at least 10 years away from seeing PCs replaced in the work place. North American jobs have been heading towards creativity which in most cases cannot be completed on a smart phone. To name a few: Engineering anything, marketing, software dev. accounting. Basically anybody working with a spreadsheet can't be efficient on a smart phone. The only type of user I see making way without a PC are sales and management once the right software is in place.

      • I'll bet it is rooted cell phones, with the added security of being mobile, allowing Chinese to do what the rest of the world takes for granted.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      And no security updates or upgrades, basically forcing you to buy a new "mobile device" every two years.

      Meanwhile my old PC (with a new video card) is still chugging along, getting updates and after many years is still fine for basic tasks and web browsing.

  • by Joe Gillian (3683399) on Monday July 21, 2014 @09:40AM (#47500461)

    China has a whole bunch of in-state manufacturers that are backed by their government. I'm sure it's also a lot easier for their government to control what goes on with cell phones, because they either own the providers or have total control over their activities. This almost sounds like a "Everyone's doing it, so should you!" kind of thing to get more people to buy state-controlled phones.

    • connivence and portability too.

      Mobile networks are much more faster than the states, which leads itself to being more mobile friendly.

      Everywhere you go there are tonnes of phone vendors, and very few PC vendors, I think the input and language barriers behind a PC are just too high for most people to deal with.

    • Now consider that most of people have nothing to hide from Chinese government. Soon, everyone without a "state-controlled phone" will be targeted for more scrutiny.
  • by 0xdeaddead (797696) on Monday July 21, 2014 @09:43AM (#47500485) Homepage Journal

    and android phones support enough chinese input methods which makes them popular.

    Ever use a computer with some kind of Chinese input? It's a nightmare.

    • I've never used Chinese input, but I have used Japanese input before via Google IME when I was trying to learn Japanese (I never succeeded but I'm gonna go back to it). I think doing non-Western languages on a computer is a pain no matter how you do it. For instance, instead of having a simple button that toggles hiragana and katakana, you had to highlight the text you wanted to switch to katakana (hiragana was on by default) and press F8 to switch it. I don't think there is a single IME out there that has

      • If you're on Windows, using the built-in Microsoft IME with a Japanese keyboard allows me to use the hardware keys to switch input modes and/or use the direct kana input. I don't think many people use the direct kana entry, though. Even without a Japanese keyboard, you can use Alt+Shift to switch input methods, and Alt+tilde(~) to switch from direct entry to IME entry. Still kinda blows, though.
      • Japanese has it's two alphabets + some chinese lettering, but Chinese.. is well.. Chinese. And there are different input methods that some people like best. And a bunch of people just steer clear because it's not intuitive.

        The hard part is if you don't remember how something's written you have to fall back to speech to text, or dial a friend.

        • The hard part is if you don't remember how something's written you have to fall back to speech to text

          On Slashdot it seams theirs a lot of Americans with similar problems.

      • The place it really becomes a problem (and this would be worse for Chinese than Japanese because Chinese is 100% kanji) is when you have a kanji that has an extremely common pronunciation.

        You are doing it wrong. If you type in pinyin for a common character, sure, you will get a hundred choices. But you should just ignore those choices, and keep typing. After you type the pinyin for a string of characters, there is usually only one valid interpretation. For instance, if you type "qing" you will get a hundred choices. But if you type "qinggeiwoyigepingguo" (meaning "Please give me an apple") you will get ONE choice, and it will be the correct one.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Ever use a computer with some kind of Chinese input? It's a nightmare.

      On a Mac laptop, you trace the character on the Trackpad.

  • by Mojo66 (1131579) on Monday July 21, 2014 @09:50AM (#47500551)

    Unfortunately, the article doesn't mention individual numbers, but given that iOS dominates the mobile internet, maybe this is due to Apple's expansion into China [apple.com].

    • by JackAxe (689361)
      Android accounts for about 80% of China's mobile, with Samsung having the largest chunk of about 24%. So, iOS's mobile internet use would be less than the remainder. BTW, Samsung's default browser reports itself as iOS when not in desktop mode.
      https://www.google.com/search?... [google.com]
      • by Mojo66 (1131579)

        Android accounts for about 80% of China's mobile

        But TFA is about internet usage market share, not sales. See this image [cbsistatic.com] for an internet market share graph.

  • by timeOday (582209) on Monday July 21, 2014 @10:29AM (#47500827)
    It's 2014 so the Internet has been around a long time and it's not surprising growth is slowing. What surprises me is that according to the article there are only 632 million Internet users in China in June, whereas the total population of 1.35 billion is over twice that number. In other words, most people in China do not access the Internet - only 47%. In the US the figure is 87% [pewinternet.org].
  • ... as the mobile infrastructure seems to handle IPv6 better than the PC infrastructures do. It would not have been a pretty sight to try to make IPv4 work with all those mobile devices.
  • by blackmesadude (1537255) on Monday July 21, 2014 @10:40AM (#47500931)
    Most of the developing nations don't have infrastructure for descent wired connectivity. Satellite/Mobile is quick and cheap way out.
  • What counts (Score:2, Troll)

    by nospam007 (722110) *

    Reading a tweet or receiving an iMessage is not 'surfing the net'.

  • Symantics (Score:2, Interesting)

    Mobile devices are PCs.

    • by QilessQi (2044624)

      Agreed. "PC" is also apt to be confused with a Windows PC.
      A better term would have been "desktop system" vs "mobile system".

  • Given the apparent interest in Privacy Badger it's clear in the US most people are still using desktops. I almost never browse on a desktop anymore, and the fact that Privacy Badger insists on running as a desktop browser plug-in makes it useless to me. And before you whine about how Apple won't this or Apple won't that, I am using a less heuristic web filter on iOS that I believe operates as a proxy (Weblock. Note: NOT Web Lock, though I suppose that might work too). So it seems to me it's possible to
    • by Osgeld (1900440)

      I almost never browse on my phone, I find the interface to be a pain in the ass, getting shoveled over to crappy ass mobile sites for 15 year old java flip phones and I dont like squinting at a small screen

      there we just nullified each other, thanks for playing

  • does it take to create an "internet user"?

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