Chinese online grow, surf faster

Online population rose 43 mil January-June

NEW YORK -- China added 43 million Internet users from January-June, pushing the world's largest online population to 253 million, most of whom now connect at high speed.

China's Internet penetration reached 19.1% of China's population of 1.3 billion, the China Internet Network Information Center said in its semiannual report released late Wednesday in Beijing.

CNNIC defines an Internet user as anyone 6 and older who used the Internet at least once a month. Almost exactly half, 49.4%, of China's users are aged 24 or younger and the gender balance among users is evening out, with women now making up 46.4% of the total.

CNNIC said 84.7% of all users, or 214 million people, are connecting via broadband, and that in the first half of the year 28.9%, or about 73 million users, had connected via mobile phone.

CNNIC, a quasi-government organization set up to compile information on China's Internet population, based its data on a poll of 16,000 Netizens. It did not say how they were contacted.