The China Matrix
Weekly Press Review

January 20th, 1999

© Kenneth Neil Farrall 1999

last week's press review

Leading this week's China Internet headlines was an apparent confusion over the official Chinese government estimate for the number of Internet users currently in China. Reports in several online news outlets including CNET, CNN, and Reuters reported that China's total Internet user number had "surged" to 1.5 million. So far, Matrix East analysts have traced the mistaken report to a Xinhua news story released Friday, January 15. The actual number of Internet users, as reported by the China Network Information Center (CNNIC) on Thursday, January 14th, is 2.1 million Internet users. Matrix East estimates for January 1999 are nearly twice as high: 3.8 million users. (For details see information on the Market Size and Demographics dynamic briefing available at The China Matrix.)

The growing popularity of the Internet throughout China has brought about a marked increase in government actions and policies seeking to rein in domestic Internet freedoms. China's Ministry of Public Security recently released new regulations requiring Internet cafes to register and provide more detailed information about their operations, including the names of all customers who access the net. According to the Hong Kong based Information Center of Human Rights and Democratic Movement in China, there are plans underway to have online supervision and computer crime investigation units in the police departments of every city in China.

Also this week, the Ministry of Foreign Trade (MOFTEC) announced the launching of a strategic project to put all levels of government online. Sixty per cent of government ministries and provincial governments are expected to go online this year; eighty per cent by the year 2000. Part of the plan includes low cost and even free support and training services from China Telecom and some Internet service providers.

Relevant articles and links below:

China steps up management of Internet cafes
Reuters 1/19

Another hearing for Lin Hai, accused of Internet dissent
Nando.Net 1/19

Pressure to end monopoly
SCMP 1/19

China: Net Use Tripled in '98
Wired 1/18

With 2.1 million on line, China clamps down on Internet freedom
Nando.Net 1/17

Government Web sites to help improve resource utilization

China says Internet users surges to 1.5 million
CNN 1/15

Online ticket sales a curiosity in Beijing
ComputerWorldHK 1/15

China Telecom: Breaking Up Is Hard to Do
Wired 1/14