BEIJING -- Signaling new opportunities for businesses to connect with millions more Chinese consumers, Gallup surveys document rising access to information technology. The percentage of Chinese who report that they have computers at home doubled in the past several years, while home Internet access nearly tripled.
Since Gallup began continuously polling in China, it has recorded steady increases in computer ownership and Internet access, with the biggest increase seen between 2007 and 2009. These increases are more dramatic in light of the population numbers they represent -- the nine percentage-point rise in reported Internet access between 2007 and 2009 means about 90 million more Chinese adults have Internet access in their homes.
While there have been increases in home Internet access among urban and rural Chinese, the gap between them grew between 2008 and 2009. In 2009, 42% of Chinese living in urban areas said they had access to the Internet in their homes, up 14 points since 2008. In China's rural areas, Internet access at home remains a luxury: 11% now have access, which is up eight points since 2008.
The rise in Internet access in Chinese homes -- whether via computers or mobile devices -- may continue to accelerate not only because of increasing consumer confidence, but also because of the "network effects" of information technology. As more Chinese begin to use online communication, the value of access increases for everyone, driving demand among those who don't have it.
The potential effects are far-reaching: Chinese consumers will likely demand more digital products and content services as Internet use grows, and international corporations will have new opportunities to reach millions of consumers in rural China.
For complete data sets or custom research from the more than 150 countries Gallup continually surveys, please contact SocialandEconomicAnalysis@gallup.com or call 202.715.3030.
Results are based on face-to-face and telephone interviews with between 3,700 and 4,400 adults, aged 15 and older, conducted in 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2009 in China. For results based on the total sample of Chinese adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±2.2 percentage points. The margin of error reflects the influence of data weighting. In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls. Population figures are based on the current World Bank estimate of Chinese age 15 and older.