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6 Jan, 2013

China’s Top Ten Internet Trends for 2012


(People’s Daily Online) January 04, 2013  (Xinhua)

1. First five-year plan for China’s Internet industry

The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology of China released the “12th Five-year Plan for Internet Industry” in May 2012. The plan is made to innovate the application system, combine the informationization with industrialization, build “broadband China,” promote the overall layout, make breakthroughs in key technologies, strengthen top-level designs, improve the regulatory system and enhance construction of Internet system. 

China has never had so clear awareness about Internet’s role as basic environment in the future economic development. Therefore, we have reason to expect an Internet world of wide coverage, high growth, more innovations and favorable environment in China.

2. Media reform is accelerating

Nearly 50 mainstream media organizations joined the tide of restructuring and listing at the beginning of 2012. People’s Daily Online took the lead and successfully landed on Shanghai Stock Exchange on April 27, becoming the first news website and media enterprise going public at A-share market in China.

 The listing of People’s Daily Online is a further promotion of the media reform. Some analysts believe that the successful listing of People’s Daily Online will unfold the tide of listed mainstream media websites. Through listing into market competition, commercial operation and diversified development, we expect to see a more vigorous media in 2013.


3. Mobile Internet ushers in an outbreak period

In 2012, Microsoft and Apple companies almost updated their products in an all-round way; Facebook, Yahoo, Microsoft and Google began vying for mobile Internet. The mobile phones exceeded the desktop computers for the first time to become the most-used Internet terminal in China.

Represented by Baidu, Qihoo 360, Shanda, Tencent, Sina and NetEase, the Internet companies are competing to develop mobile terminal, smart terminal, open platforms of cloud computing, browser, mobile applications, mobile maps and two-dimensional code, involving both hardware and software.

4. Broadband China

Data of Akamai Company show that the average speed of Internet connection in China was 1.4 Mbps in 2011, which is lower than the global average 2.7 Mbps. In 2012, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology of China focused on the popularization and acceleration of broadband and discussed about the strategy of broadband China with the Development and Reform Commission. At the same time, the 4G network is being deployed across China.

During the period of “ITU Telecom World 2012” organized by the International Telecommunication Union, Chinese government officially announced the planning of 2.6 GHz TDD frequency spectrum for the first time, speeding up the process of commercial purpose of domestic 4G. Hangzhou became China’s first city offering a 4G network to the public. On Dec. 18, China Mobile launched TD-LET commercial network in Hong Kong, realizing interflow of 4G network with Shenzhen.

5. Rise of the era of big data

With the arrival of the era of cloud computing, the mobile Internet and Internet of things have a rapid development. People have never felt so strongly about the rise of social networking, the explosive growth of smart networking equipment and the era of big data before, like in 2012.

Information and communication technology enterprises also began strategic layout of the storage, processing and applications of big data.

Baidu, Tencent, Taobao and China Mobile have established their own data center projects, measuring the achievements with capacity and data processing technology. According to estimation of domestic agencies, the potential market value of China’s big data is expected to reach 2 trillion yuan in the future.

6. Amount of online shopping topped 1 trillion yuan

The competition between e–commerce providers almost runs through the field of Internet in 2012.

Icson, e-commerce provider owned by Tencent, has announced to enter Chongqing and Chengdu with an investment of 1 billion yuan, planning to catch up with Jingdong Mall. The Wal-Mart Stores Inc became the controlling shareholder of Shanghai Yi Agel Ecommerce Ltd. In 2012, the sum of business transaction of TMall exceeded 1 trillion yuan, accounting for 5.4 percent of China’s total retail sales of consumer goods in 2011.

7. Cooperation of video websites

In 2012, more than 95 percent of Chinese Internet users watch online video, which has become the number one Internet application in China.

The completion of video websites has cooled down and returned to sensible level, with a transformation from vying for marketing channels to making products. The strategy focuses on seeking differentiated development through purchasing and producing video content.

In 2012, the major video websites began cooperating with each other and deployment of mobile terminal has become the consensus of most video websites. At present, about 60 percent of mobile data traffic is generated by the mobile video.

8. Micro-blog and WeChat took the lead; social media is booming

In 2012, over 400 million Chinese people use social network and the number of micro-blog websites for government affairs has exceeded 60,000.

During the 18th CPC National Congress, micro-blogs became an important tool for the Party representatives to communicate with Internet users. Hundreds of foreign government agencies also opened micro-blogs in China.

Micro-blog has become the most important social media in China. It is worth noting that over 80 percent of micro-blog users log in the website by mobile terminal in 2012.

Compared with wired Internet, intelligent terminal provides more channels for mobile social network. For example, the number of users of WeChat, which was released in 2011, has exceeded 100 million in March 2012 and then doubled after less than six months.

9. Self-discipline of search industry

A search engine war between Baidu and Qihoo 360 had triggered discussions about issues on technology, industry agreements and privacy and security of users.

Organized by Internet Society of China, 12 enterprises including Baidu, Sogou, Qihoo 360, Tencent, Netease, Sina, Jike jointly signed a self-discipline pact for search engine providers on Nov. 1, 2012, agreeing to consciously comply with the spirit of Internet, the international industry practices and fair competition and protect users’ interests.

10. Age of mobile payment

In 2012, a number of banks cut charging standards of online banking, playing the price war, while the mobile payment announced its age has come. 

China Unicom joined hands with China Merchants Bank to launch the first mobile payment products, while China Mobile will cooperate with China UnionPay to launch NFC mobile payment. Recently, the central bank of China issued 35 technical standards of mobile payment on application base, safety control, equipment, payment application and networking, and mobile payment officially entered the track of standardized development.

Read the Chinese version: 2012年中国互展10大; Source: People’s Daily