China is surging ahead in the internet connectivity. Interestingly, it is not the Wi-Fi connectivity that is fueling the people coming up on the internet, but the success and the proliferation of the Mobile technology.
According a governmental report released by the China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC), an estimated 51 million new Chinese users accessed the Internet in 2012, bringing the number of online users to 564 million, an increase of ten percent. This, in turn, has boosted the country’s penetration rate by 3.8 percentage points — reaching 42.1 percent — since the end of 2011.
The increase in users, which is larger than the population of Spain, has been laid at the feet of mobile technology. The mobile tech boom, which includes the increased use of tablets and smartphones, has made connecting to online networks easier for Chinese citizens. As a result, the report says that those who go online via tablets, smartphones and wireless networks increased by 18.1 percent, bringing the wireless mobile population to 420 million. (link)
Actually, I believe too that the future of Internet in the developed countries will depend on how the mobile connections – 3G and 4G – is laid out in these countries by the Governments. India, sadly has lacked the ability to do these projects without any scandals and has jeopardized the Internet future in India.
At the rate at which China is going, its own Government estimates that 800 million will be on the internet by end of 2015. That is roughly 2.5 times US population!! It will give it a lot of power.
Censorship and Internet-crazy population
A major thing going against the Chinese population is the censorship that the Chinese Government exercises. That Government is a master at censoring content at the base itself. In fact the content dished to the populace is very customized as per the version of the State and the establishment.
So instead of creating an “enlightened population”, China may end up creating “cloned minds”, which do not think on their own.
There are ways to circumvent all this and things that are innocuous and benign, but culture-changing, can enter and start a revolution that may be hard to contain.