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China forecasts 120m Internet users by year end

China forecasts 120m Internet users by year end

Internet usage in China is expected to accelerate this year, as personal computers find their way into more homes and access to telecoms networks grows, according to a report published today.

China's Internet user base is expected to grow 28 percent this year to 120 million, according to the official Xinhua news agency, which cited an official with China's Ministry of Information Industry (MII).

The gains would represent an increase over 2004, when the number of Internet users grew 16 percent to 94 million.

China is the world's No. 2 PC market, with nearly 16 million units shipped last year and the number expected to grow another 13 percent in 2005, according to International Data Corp.

It is also the world's largest telecoms market by subscribers, with 316 million fixed-line users and 340 million mobile users at the end of January, Xinhua also reported on Tuesday, citing new data from the MII.

The new fixed-line figure represented an increase of 3.2 million subscribers from the end of December, while the mobile number represented a gain of 5 million.

Experts predict that China will have 402 million mobile subscribers by the end of this year, with fixed-line subscribers expected to reach 360 million, according to Xinhua.

China's telecoms industry is dominated by fixed-line players China Telecom Corp. and China Netcom Group Corp, and mobile carriers China Mobile (Hong Kong) Ltd. and China Unicom Ltd.

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