Internet users in China hits 162 million

The number of Internet users in China hit 162 million at the end of June, a state information centre said, with growth in the first six months of this year nearly matching that for the whole of 2006.

The world's second-largest online population grew by 25 million from January to the end of June, according to a report by the China Internet Network Information Center, as the country closes the gap with the United States' 211 million Internet users.

In China -- which is close to rolling out third-generation wireless standards -- 44.3 million people use cellphones to go online, the report said, adding that the number of broadband users had reached 122 million.

CNNIC takes orders from China's Ministry of Information Industry (MII), the centre says on its Web site,

In January, CNNIC said China's Web population had reached 137 million by the end of 2006, up 26 million from a year earlier.

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