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China Has More People Going Online With a Mobile Device Than a PC

samzenpus posted about 4 months ago | from the surfing-on-the-go dept.

China 58

An anonymous reader points out that even though China's internet adoption rate is the lowest it's been in 8 years, the number of people surfing the net from a mobile device has never been higher. "The number of China's internet users going online with a mobile device — such as a smartphone or tablet — has overtaken those doing so with a personal computer (PC) for the first time, said the official China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC) on Monday. China's total number of internet users crept up 2.3 percent to 632 million by the end of June, from 618 million at the end of 2013, said CNNIC's internet development statistics report. Of those, 527 million — or 83 percent — went online via mobile. Those doing so with a PC made up 81 percent the total. China is the largest smartphone market in the world, and by 2018 is likely to account for nearly one-third of the expected 1.8 billion smartphones shipped that year, according to data firm IDC.

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So (3, Funny)

StripedCow (776465) | about 4 months ago | (#47500405)

Does that mean that TOR is available for mobile phones now too?

Re:So (4, Interesting)

cyfer2000 (548592) | about 4 months ago | (#47500543)

The Great fireWall can dynamically detect Tor traffic and block them, think something smarter NOW please.

Re:So (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47505275)

SSH. It can be detected but I doubt they'd block it in the larger cities since some jobs require it.
Also, Tor has been available on phones for ages. Even if it weren't you could put it into a PC and make a ssh tunnel to it.

Re:So (2)

Ken_g6 (775014) | about 4 months ago | (#47500557)

I found an Android app for Tor about a year ago. Haven't checked since.

Long live the 'desktop' and mobile 'laptop'. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47500413)

We all know this is the future, but a scary one. Webapps, 'cloud' with insane caps, and closed ecosystems.

Re:Long live the 'desktop' and mobile 'laptop'. (1)

alen (225700) | about 4 months ago | (#47500457)

only if you have nothing else to do with a phone or tablet except listen to music or watch netflix 24x7

Re:Long live the 'desktop' and mobile 'laptop'. (4, Informative)

s.petry (762400) | about 4 months ago | (#47500929)

Partial truth, but nobody has mentioned the most obvious reason for this to be true in China. Money! PCs in the US and Europe are pretty cheap, but not in China. Remember that the cost of a PC is not just in capital, but a support structure. Houses in China are rare, apartments dominate the landscape so the few that can afford them may not have a place to put them. Remember that these are not large apartments. If you have very little disposable income, you are going to purchase _either_ a phone phone or a PC. Not both. You also need to pay for support for the hardware, operating system, and purchase applications (rare in China I agree, but the Government there does have some rules it can choose to enforce). This is why computer boutiques are common in all over Asia, not just China. PCs are expensive, phones are cheap.

I agreed in part because phones are the future landscape for Internet use by consumers. In fact that "future" is already prevalent. In business, absolutely not with current technology. Anyone actually working in IT today requires fast processing and multiple displays. Tablets are not powerful enough for a developer today, which pushes phones further out. If phones are ever developed enough to take over business space, they won't be considered phones any longer. Angry birds works fine on a Phone, running a large mysql query and working with the data not so much (let alone trying to compile a client that does this, or running a mysql server for more than a few clients).

Re:Long live the 'desktop' and mobile 'laptop'. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47501363)

You think that is the root cause?

I guess from all the time you spent in China you failed to notice something subtle yet important.
There was never really an infrastructure build-out for land based services (phone/tv).

Since they never wired for cable TV/Home phones how do you suppose they get home-internet working?

Cell phones are everywhere since they are fairly cheap and the primary way they have phone service (unless you want to stand in line at the post office).

PS
I think you are also off on the apartment sizes.
I own what was once a state-owned apartment in a decent sized Chinese city (pop ~ 4.7 Million).

The place has two bedrooms with a combined tv/dining room. Both bedrooms are reasonably sized and both have queen sized beds with space for a desk and chair.

I don't see why they cant put a computer on the desks? Now if I had a computer in my Chinese apartment i'm unsure where i would plug it in for internet access as there are no telephone/cable jacks.

Re:Long live the 'desktop' and mobile 'laptop'. (1)

s.petry (762400) | about 4 months ago | (#47502613)

*Sigh* nothing like selective reading. You simply extrapolated on something I mentioned so that I was not writing a thesis, and pretended that I did not mention it. Remember that the cost of a PC is not just in capital, but a support structure

Most apartments in China are not the variety you are mentioning that are former Government apartments.

Re:Long live the 'desktop' and mobile 'laptop'. (0)

nukenerd (172703) | about 4 months ago | (#47502881)

I own what was once a state-owned apartment in a decent sized Chinese city ... The place has two bedrooms with a combined tv/dining room. Both bedrooms are reasonably sized .. with space for a desk and chair. I don't see why they cant put a computer on the desks?

Sounds like a rabbit hutch to me. Maybe fine if a computer is the only thing you need room for, but some people have other parts to their lives.

Re:Long live the 'desktop' and mobile 'laptop'. (1)

mlts (1038732) | about 4 months ago | (#47501723)

I wonder how long it will be for a phone to take over the desktop role in a meaningful way (assuming a docking station). We have had some attempts at this, especially with the Motorola Atrix line (RIP) which were pretty good, although the best use (IMHO) was a Citrix receiver [1].

Already, we are seeing the tablet/desktop line blur, as Microsoft's Surface Pro [2] models get better. I wouldn't be surprised to see in a few years, a phone with 256-512 GB of SSD be usable in a docking station for basic desktop functionality, with USB 3.1 ports, maybe even Thunderbolt ports.

[1]: Would be nice to have a multiplatform F/OSS project comparable to Citrix Xen Desktop. No, VNC with its eight digit max password, does not count. X-windows over SSH is good, but doesn't play well with MS-Windows based items.

[2]: The Pro is the keyword... The plain old Surface is ARM based. The Pro is an X86-64 machine.

Re:Long live the 'desktop' and mobile 'laptop'. (1)

Ravaldy (2621787) | about 4 months ago | (#47502045)

You nailed it on the head.

We are at least 10 years away from seeing PCs replaced in the work place. North American jobs have been heading towards creativity which in most cases cannot be completed on a smart phone. To name a few: Engineering anything, marketing, software dev. accounting. Basically anybody working with a spreadsheet can't be efficient on a smart phone. The only type of user I see making way without a PC are sales and management once the right software is in place.

I'll bet it is (1)

justthinkit (954982) | about 4 months ago | (#47503991)

I'll bet it is rooted cell phones, with the added security of being mobile, allowing Chinese to do what the rest of the world takes for granted.

Re:Long live the 'desktop' and mobile 'laptop'. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47502021)

And no security updates or upgrades, basically forcing you to buy a new "mobile device" every two years.

Meanwhile my old PC (with a new video card) is still chugging along, getting updates and after many years is still fine for basic tasks and web browsing.

Propaganda for Chinese cell manufacturers? (3, Interesting)

Joe Gillian (3683399) | about 4 months ago | (#47500461)

China has a whole bunch of in-state manufacturers that are backed by their government. I'm sure it's also a lot easier for their government to control what goes on with cell phones, because they either own the providers or have total control over their activities. This almost sounds like a "Everyone's doing it, so should you!" kind of thing to get more people to buy state-controlled phones.

Re:Propaganda for Chinese cell manufacturers? (1)

0xdeaddead (797696) | about 4 months ago | (#47500513)

connivence and portability too.

Mobile networks are much more faster than the states, which leads itself to being more mobile friendly.

Everywhere you go there are tonnes of phone vendors, and very few PC vendors, I think the input and language barriers behind a PC are just too high for most people to deal with.

Re:Propaganda for Chinese cell manufacturers? (1)

Flavianoep (1404029) | about 4 months ago | (#47500593)

Now consider that most of people have nothing to hide from Chinese government. Soon, everyone without a "state-controlled phone" will be targeted for more scrutiny.

It's all about the input (3, Informative)

0xdeaddead (797696) | about 4 months ago | (#47500485)

and android phones support enough chinese input methods which makes them popular.

Ever use a computer with some kind of Chinese input? It's a nightmare.

Re:It's all about the input (2)

Joe Gillian (3683399) | about 4 months ago | (#47500617)

I've never used Chinese input, but I have used Japanese input before via Google IME when I was trying to learn Japanese (I never succeeded but I'm gonna go back to it). I think doing non-Western languages on a computer is a pain no matter how you do it. For instance, instead of having a simple button that toggles hiragana and katakana, you had to highlight the text you wanted to switch to katakana (hiragana was on by default) and press F8 to switch it. I don't think there is a single IME out there that has a simple toggle switch.. at least, none that I know of.

The place it really becomes a problem (and this would be worse for Chinese than Japanese because Chinese is 100% kanji) is when you have a kanji that has an extremely common pronunciation. There are about a hundred different kanji, some of which are surprisingly common in Japanese, that all share one pronunciation (I think it was "fu" but I can't remember anymore) and Google's IME gives you a drop-down list of all of those kanji if you type in the pronunciation.

There is actually a movement in Japan to this day (that started in the Meiji period) to drop kanji from the language entirely and use the hiragana pronunciation instead, and one of the reasons for this is that hundred-kanji pileup.

Re:It's all about the input (1)

HideyoshiJP (1392619) | about 4 months ago | (#47500679)

If you're on Windows, using the built-in Microsoft IME with a Japanese keyboard allows me to use the hardware keys to switch input modes and/or use the direct kana input. I don't think many people use the direct kana entry, though. Even without a Japanese keyboard, you can use Alt+Shift to switch input methods, and Alt+tilde(~) to switch from direct entry to IME entry. Still kinda blows, though.

Re:It's all about the input (1)

0xdeaddead (797696) | about 4 months ago | (#47500901)

Japanese has it's two alphabets + some chinese lettering, but Chinese.. is well.. Chinese. And there are different input methods that some people like best. And a bunch of people just steer clear because it's not intuitive.

The hard part is if you don't remember how something's written you have to fall back to speech to text, or dial a friend.

Re:It's all about the input (1)

someoneOtherThanMe (1387847) | about 4 months ago | (#47505731)

The hard part is if you don't remember how something's written you have to fall back to speech to text

On Slashdot it seams theirs a lot of Americans with similar problems.

Re:It's all about the input (1)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 4 months ago | (#47501309)

The place it really becomes a problem (and this would be worse for Chinese than Japanese because Chinese is 100% kanji) is when you have a kanji that has an extremely common pronunciation.

You are doing it wrong. If you type in pinyin for a common character, sure, you will get a hundred choices. But you should just ignore those choices, and keep typing. After you type the pinyin for a string of characters, there is usually only one valid interpretation. For instance, if you type "qing" you will get a hundred choices. But if you type "qinggeiwoyigepingguo" (meaning "Please give me an apple") you will get ONE choice, and it will be the correct one.

Re:It's all about the input (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47501699)

Ever use a computer with some kind of Chinese input? It's a nightmare.

On a Mac laptop, you trace the character on the Trackpad.

Mobile OS market shares? (2)

Mojo66 (1131579) | about 4 months ago | (#47500551)

Unfortunately, the article doesn't mention individual numbers, but given that iOS dominates the mobile internet, maybe this is due to Apple's expansion into China [apple.com] .

Re:Mobile OS market shares? (1)

JackAxe (689361) | about 4 months ago | (#47502279)

Android accounts for about 80% of China's mobile, with Samsung having the largest chunk of about 24%. So, iOS's mobile internet use would be less than the remainder. BTW, Samsung's default browser reports itself as iOS when not in desktop mode.
https://www.google.com/search?... [google.com]

Re:Mobile OS market shares? (1)

Mojo66 (1131579) | about 4 months ago | (#47502453)

Android accounts for about 80% of China's mobile

But TFA is about internet usage market share, not sales. See this image [cbsistatic.com] for an internet market share graph.

China has an internet? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47500651)

Since when?

Re:China has an internet? (4, Interesting)

0xdeaddead (797696) | about 4 months ago | (#47500925)

for normal people? 2003 or so.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

But it's crony captalisim at it's best. First they allow access to a western site to get the feel of it, then they have uncle at the military have the site blocked. Then Jr creates a clone version of that site. The pirate site then gets popular since you can't access the real site, and well billion + people means millions of users which means nice watch, a couple of apartments and shark fin soup for uncle.

It's a joke.

Re:China has an internet? (2, Interesting)

HeckRuler (1369601) | about 4 months ago | (#47501401)

It's a joke.

Whoa there, it turns "innovation", "IP", "the free market", and "network neutrality" into sad jokes. And there's not a lot of respect for that sort of stuff in China. The country is still fairly repressive by modern standards.

But it very much funnels users and money back towards China. This sort of thing will not be fought by the officials in China. The minor officials get shark-fin soup, so they're all for it. But the higher ups like it just the same as it keep money from leaving the country. It's essentially protectionism.

Re:China has an internet? (1)

misterjjones (1331965) | about 4 months ago | (#47507551)

comment to undo accidental downmod

Leveling off surprisingly low (3, Interesting)

timeOday (582209) | about 4 months ago | (#47500827)

It's 2014 so the Internet has been around a long time and it's not surprising growth is slowing. What surprises me is that according to the article there are only 632 million Internet users in China in June, whereas the total population of 1.35 billion is over twice that number. In other words, most people in China do not access the Internet - only 47%. In the US the figure is 87% [pewinternet.org] .

Well, that's good... (1)

QuietLagoon (813062) | about 4 months ago | (#47500855)

... as the mobile infrastructure seems to handle IPv6 better than the PC infrastructures do. It would not have been a pretty sight to try to make IPv4 work with all those mobile devices.

Same is true for all developing countries (3, Interesting)

blackmesadude (1537255) | about 4 months ago | (#47500931)

Most of the developing nations don't have infrastructure for descent wired connectivity. Satellite/Mobile is quick and cheap way out.

Same is true for all developing countries (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47505049)

Exactly, mobile internet users has always been the majority internet users since years ago in Indonesia for example.

What counts (1, Troll)

nospam007 (722110) | about 4 months ago | (#47500945)

Reading a tweet or receiving an iMessage is not 'surfing the net'.

So does my living room (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47500955)

My house has more people going online with a mobile device than a PC.

Re:So does my living room (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47502477)

Are you in China? If not, then isnt that off topic?

Re-read the topic in case you just glanced over it : China Has More People Going Online With a Mobile Device Than a PC

Phones are less filtered (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47501167)

According to my Chinese co-worker who just got back from vacation in China, access to the internet is less filtered there for phones than it is for computers.

Symantics (1, Interesting)

sociocapitalist (2471722) | about 4 months ago | (#47501243)

Mobile devices are PCs.

Re:Symantics (2)

QilessQi (2044624) | about 4 months ago | (#47501279)

Agreed. "PC" is also apt to be confused with a Windows PC.
A better term would have been "desktop system" vs "mobile system".

Re:Symantics (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47501665)

Agreed. "PC" is also apt to be confused with a Windows PC.
A better term would have been "desktop system" vs "mobile system".

Perhaps, but that's problematic too. Is a laptop a desktop system? Is a tablet? What about a convertible laptop-tablet? The lines are very blurry.

Re:Symantics (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47501443)

You're running antivirus on your mobile devices? Shudder.

Re:Symantics (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47502077)

No, and I'm not running antivirus on my PC either.
But I might start running an antivirus on my mobile device, since it will stop getting security updates much sooner than my PC.

Re:Symantics (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47501949)

Mobile devices are disposable PCs.

Sent from my 7 year old PC that still works fine and will receive security updates for at least another 10 years.

Jeezus Fuckballs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47501601)

China has more people going online mobile devices than pcs. The headline implies that they're all sharing one mobile device and one pc.

This means nothing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47501985)

I am online with my phone 24 hours a day, INCLUDING the time when I am using my computer. Because it is a constant connection. So, all this is saying is that there are mobile devices that people own in China.

affordability? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47502369)

I wonder how affordable the smartphones and tablets are. I assume that the people of the middle class can afford the smartphones and data plans? I'm not trying to be disrespectful or stereotype the Chinese citizens. Its just that all I hear from the news is the lower class living in "poor" farming villages. Looks like the middle class has internet access one way or another.

Nice to see some Chinese citizens having a decent life and a decent wage. So it is not the rich executives that can afford to go on trips and buy cell phones. I learned something new. Even the college courses that I took about developing nations didn't teach much about China or even Asia as a whole. Shame. I can't wait to see China for myself.

Re:affordability? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47502541)

Been there many times as I own a "condo" in one of the well known "tourist" cities and highly recommend you go. The great wall is one of those things you should see in your lifetime.

Just a "heads up".. Don't go there with a set of expectations or you might be disappointed.
For example, NO that "made in China" stuff you buy in your country is NOT available for purchase for less in China (most of what is made in China is for export only).

Try to bring someone you trust who speaks mandarin and you will have a lot more fun as you can venture away from the main tourist areas.

Go out of the city to some villages and it is like turning back time.

So what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47502435)

That doesn't mean anything.

I am online everytime I have my cell phone one and move around, which is pretty much all the time, but that's only because It connects automatically, or when I am on the road. I prefer to use my PC at home, or my Laptop if I am planning to do any heavy work while away.

Obviously the US is not as "mobilized"... (1)

Kazoo the Clown (644526) | about 4 months ago | (#47502697)

Given the apparent interest in Privacy Badger it's clear in the US most people are still using desktops. I almost never browse on a desktop anymore, and the fact that Privacy Badger insists on running as a desktop browser plug-in makes it useless to me. And before you whine about how Apple won't this or Apple won't that, I am using a less heuristic web filter on iOS that I believe operates as a proxy (Weblock. Note: NOT Web Lock, though I suppose that might work too). So it seems to me it's possible to do in iOS. Plus, a proxy version rather than a browser plug-in would be preferrable anyhow, I tend to use multiple browsers on every platform, and I could set up a Raspberry PI to host it and at least my at-home browsing with the iPad and everything else would be able to use that in any case...

Re:Obviously the US is not as "mobilized"... (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | about 4 months ago | (#47505485)

I almost never browse on my phone, I find the interface to be a pain in the ass, getting shoveled over to crappy ass mobile sites for 15 year old java flip phones and I dont like squinting at a small screen

there we just nullified each other, thanks for playing

Re:Obviously the US is not as "mobilized"... (1)

Kazoo the Clown (644526) | about 4 months ago | (#47508599)

Except I'm not talking about a phone, I'm using an iPad tablet.

Re:Obviously the US is not as "mobilized"... (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | about 4 months ago | (#47512091)

same difference small screen, getting shoveled off to shitty 15 year old mobile java sites, wonky interface

Why is this surprising? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47502899)

More than half the country couldn't afford a computer and if they did they most likely wouldn't have a home like we think of it in the West. A lot of people in China are still in deep, rural areas where cell towers may exist, but they live in structures barely better than shacks. They can afford a mobile device and get access to the Internet in outlying areas. The phone needs little electricity to charge so there you go.

China is not alone (3, Interesting)

antifoidulus (807088) | about 4 months ago | (#47504321)

Poor People Can Have Computers, Problem Solved (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47508487)

I mean, every Chinese person (any human really) I know who can afford a laptop PC/Mac absolutely has one. Let's not pretend that smartphones are a great equalizer. This just means technology costs are low enough to offer the product to a wider audience, not that the audience is growing on it's own.

How many kilobyes (1)

Bust0ut (1897254) | about 4 months ago | (#47508831)

does it take to create an "internet user"?
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