Overtaking the US, China's internet-users population has reached 253 million by the end of June, reflecting the explosive growth in the web-user market in the country, data showed.
Latest government figures also showed that China also had the largest number of broadband subscribers at 214 million, more than 80 per cent of the total domestic internet population.
The number of Internet users at 253 million marked a 56.2 per cent rise from 162 million reported in 2007, the China Internet Network Information Centre (CNNIC), a semi-official organisation, said in a report.
The US has 218 million net users till December 31, 2007 when China had 210 million users. Based on the US growth pattern, CNNIC estimated that the numbers in the US could have now reached 230 million by the end of June this year.
The report, quoted by official Xinhua news agency and state-run China Daily, also showed that 206 million internet users checked news online, about 81.5 per cent of the whole domestic online population.
About 63.29 million shopped online, or a quarter of the whole domestic internet population, while 23.79 million paid money through online means, the CNNIC said.
"Though the number of internet users is now the highest in the world, China is far from an internet power in terms of the rate of penetration and the commercial value of its citizens," Liu bing, Chief Writer of the CNNIC semi-annual report said.
Only 19 out of every 100 Chinese have access to the internet, while the ratio is 21 per cent worldwide and 72 per cent in the US.
High school students are the "biggest factor" of the high growth rate in internet users 56 per cent year-on-year in the first half of the year, accounting for 39 million of the 43 million new users, the report said.
People below the age of 30 accounted for 69 per cent of the total web users, it said.