Internet use in China has been on the rise for a long time, but in the past few years we witnessed an extremely significant jump in Internet penetration rate. By June 2016, there were 710 million Internet users in China and Internet penetration was at 51.7%. This is a leap from 39.9% in June 2012. (CNNIC, 38th Statistical Report)
As a result, the e-commerce sector in China is booming. Alibaba(B2B), T-Mall(B2C) and Taobao(C2C), all part of the Alibaba Group founded by Jack Ma in 1999, takes center stage and individually they dominate the markets of each of their platforms. (Statista, 2016) Alibaba Group’s main rival, Tencent, which founded WeChat, an instant messaging and social media platform, is also put in the spotlight as its expanded functions make it an all-in-one mobile application that many now heavily depend on. Online services are also on the rise, among which online meal ordering and online transportation services have proven to be particularly successful.
National Internet penetration rate may have increased steadily, but does each individual province in China benefit from the increased Internet use to the same extent? Also, what are the social implications that come together with the rise of Internet use, particularly in the context of China? These are some questions we will seek to explore.
China Internet Network Information Center (July 2016) Statistical Report on Internet Development in China (38th report), Retrieved from https://cnnic.com.cn/IDR/ReportDownloads/201611/P020161114573409551742.pdf
Statista (2016) Alibaba Group, Retrieved from file:///C:/Users/User/Downloads/study_id23850_alibaba-group-statista-dossier.pdf