Economic Growth in China
Created By Eser Torun
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Since China's open-door policy was initiated in late 1978, there has been rapid increase in the numbers of foreign investors and foreign capital flows to China. The growing trend of foreign investment has been magnified by the improvement of economic circumstances and market-oriented economic development. The economic growth has continuously spurred the demand for information and data. As a result, the strong development of telecommunications and IT industries have also created dramatic growth of Internet use in China.
As a result of the growth, China's Internet community has multiplied 128 times in a little more than six years.
There are now about 80 million netizens in the country, a drastic jump from the 620,000 users recorded in 1997, the China Internet Network Information Centre (CNNIC)'s latest report shows. The number grew to 79.5 million by the end of December 2003.
About 11.5 million new users were recorded in the second half of last year, a growth higher than the 8.9 million recorded in the first six months of 2003. Although large in size, the current number is only 6.2 percent of the country's total population.
The Internet in China is filtered. Chinese citizens know about filtering only through gossip, or when they discover that certain sensitive Web sites are consistently reported to be unavailable on the otherwise-functioning network. Related research done by Harvard Law School found that a range of sites covering dozens of topical categories to be filtered, including dissident and democracy sites, sites covering public health and HIV, sites about religion, Tibet, Taiwan and the home pages of many institutions of higher learning around the world. Within this broad range, apart from pornography, there are also news sites. China regularly blocks the online sites of BBC, CNN, Times, PBS, The Miami Herald, and The Philadelphia Inquirer. However this restrictive attitude does not seem as a big threat over the growth of internet in growing China. A number of hackers had already entered the cat-and-mouse game of helping users bypass government Internet filters through proxy services.
This driving force creates new governmental, technological, societal and global paradigms that will affect the future of internet.
-Political: Chinese Government decided to develop a new control structure and improve its long-term mechanism to combat Internet pornography by creating the role of the China Internet Association.
-Technological: Telephone and communication services in China are expected to be expanded using internet.
-Societal: Internet has an influential role in China's public life. As per research results, about one-fifth of Chinese netizens regularly use the bulletin board systems (BBS), the most politically active place in Chinese cyberspace. The BBS provides unprecedented opportunities for Chinese netizens to engage in public affairs. In 2003, there were more than half a dozen of those online uprising events. This online communication has had a significant impact on Chinese society because there is still no systematic way for the public to participate in and express opinion about policy and social issues.
-Global: China is expected to become the world's largest Internet and information economy, surpassing the United States.
Late 1978- China's open-door policy was initiated.
1989- Student Movement for Democracy
1995- China's total sales of computer products hit 7 billion US dollars - 51% up from the previous year.
1996- The total number of installed phones in China reached 61.55 million with 5.47 phones for every 100 people. The networks in China have covered more than 2,000 cities.
September 1996- The government announced that it had successfully blocked some 100 sites from abroad, including those of major Western newspapers, human-rights organizations, Chinese and Tibetan activists
End of 1996- 120,000 of China's 1.2 billion residents were using the Internet.
2004- There are 80 million netizens in the country.