China has the world’s largest online population, topping out at over 500-million users. That’s interesting enough in its own right.
More interesting though, is the fact that over a third of those users only use mobile devices to access the internet.
That’s one of the key findings of a new report from research company On Device.
If the report is to be believed, then around 38% of China’s online population only access the internet on mobile devices.
If that isn’t proof enough that mobile is pushing online growth in the Asian superpower, then bear in mind that 45% of people in rural areas connect exclusively through mobile devices.
Even these mobile-only web users are pretty keen browsers. On Device claims that about a quarter of them spend over an hour a day browsing.
While the majority of these users claim that the lack of access to a computer (especially in rural areas) forces them to use their mobile devices, a number appear to take the mobile only route out of choice:
Interestingly, China is not the country with the highest proportion of mobile only internet users. That would be Nigeria, where some 58% of the online population only use mobile devices to access the web:
In fact, other emerging markets such as Kenya and Indonesia also have higher mobile-only rates than China. This probably, however, reflects China’s stronger fixed-line infrastructure.
One area where China is winning among some of the more high-profile emerging markets is smartphones:
According to the report, the majority of China’s mobile-only internet users are young males under the age of 25:
According to On Device, for markets like China, “the mobile device is much more than just a phone, it connects the previously unconnected on a mass scale both in cities and in rural areas. Mobile gives them access to the world’s information and provides businesses with previously untapped consumers.”