China surpasses 989m internet users as COVID-19 hastens digitalisation

A report released today (February 3) by China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC) reveals that the number of Internet users in China reached 989 million in December 2020. This represents an internet penetration rate of 70.4% and marks an increase of 85.4 million users from March 2020.

The report shed light on the impact of China’s rapid digitalisation on controlling COVID-19. Until the end of last year, the Health QR Code had been used by nearly 900 million people in 40 billion situations.

The pandemic also resulted in a growing demand for digital education and health services. Major online education platforms expanded and adapted to facilitate students’ learning from home. This resulted in a huge rise in user numbers, and, as of December, 34.6% of total internet users (342 million people) used online education platforms. The pandemic also transformed China’s online medical services with many platforms increasing the availability of online medical consultations. Consequently, the number of online medical users grew to 215 million by the end of 2020.

Meanwhile, China’s vast e-commerce industry also expanded considerably with 72.15 million new online shoppers since March 2020. The number of online shopping users grew to 782 million, accounting for 79.1% of total Internet users. The pandemic forced many businesses and consumers to move online for their retail needs, while platforms increased their appeal with a wider range of features, discounts and shopping festivals.

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