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China's online population hits 649 million

China's netizen population, the world's largest, had reached 649 million by the end of 2014, driven by the popularity of surfing the Internet on smartphones, a report showed on Tuesday.

The number of people accessing the Internet from mobiles totaled 557 million by the end of last year, up 56.72 million year on year and accounting for 85.8 percent of the total online population, showed the report by the China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC).

According to the CNNIC, there were 31.17 million new Internet users in China last year, a relatively small increase compared to the 53.58 million users added in 2013.

Liu Bing, the center's deputy director, attributed the decline in new netizens to the widened digital divide between rural and urban areas.

In 2014, Chinese netizens spent an average of 26.1 hours online per week, just over an hour more than in 2013, according to the report.


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