Over Half a Million People Join the Internet Every Day
And Half of That Half Million Are Chinese
China's Rapid Internet Growth
According to the U.S. Census Bureau and the UN the world population stands at almost exactly 7 billion human beings and according to ICT Facts and Figures more than a third of us are now connected to the Internet. And according to a study conducted by the folks over at Royal Pingdom there are almost 8 people joining the Web every second. Looking at the chart they provided that I've posted here, you can see that means over 683,000 people become new Web users every day. And half of that number speak Chinese.
One of the most amazing statistics I found on the Internet World Stats Website is the fact that in the year 2000 there was an estimated 114 million people on-line in Asia and about 108 million people on the Internet in North America (i.e. U.S., Canada and Mexico) but by 2011 while North American Internet usership climbed to 273 million, Asian Internet useres soared to over a billion. What's more in Asia there's plenty of room for growth since only 26 percent of their population is on-line while over 78 percent of North Americans are on-line.
Clearly, the future of the Internet will have a decidedly Asian flavor. In the very near future there will be many millions more Chinese speaking Internet users than all of the other languages combined.
Another reason that China will dominate the Internet in the future is that Chinese orthography is perfectly suited to the Twitter Age. As a perfect example of what I mean, consider the following statement:
If Jeremy Lin lived on the mainland, he would either be a semi-literate CBA [Chinese Basketball Association, China's state-run professional league] player or an ordinary undergraduate who likes basketball in his spare time. We admire him not because he is an ethnic Chinese, but because he has proved for a fact that the main reason that Chinese don't play basketball well is because of the system, and not their physique!
The above statement was posted using Chinese characters on Sina Weibo, China's Twitter equivalent, on the 12 of this month by Mao Maozi, a cameraman with the state-run Shanghai Education Television network. Like Twitter, Sina Weibo has a 140-character count limit. So Mr. Maozi's statement cited above is all one Tweet! One can express a lot of thought very concisely in Chinese.