China internet users number 649 million

chinaflagThere are now 649 million Chinese people with internet access, according to a government report.
And, significantly, a large percentage of those people use smartphones or mobile phones to access the net.
At the end of 2012, there were only 564 million people able to access the web, said the China Internet Network Information Centre.
While the 2014 figures showed a modest growth, there is still room for vendors because internet penetration is only 47.9 percent of the population – with many of those people living in rural areas.
Reuters reports that smartphone sales aren’t doing so well.  It quotes government figures that showed 389 smartphones shipped in China in 2014, a drop from 423 million in 2013.
Some players like Google, Facebook and Twitter have practically no presence in mainland China.
The authorities there routinely censor many web sites and keep a sharp eye for blogs related to politics or to pornography.