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Factors Influencing the Diffusion of the Internet in China: 1997-2001
Unformatted Document Text:  19 rate of urban population and urban residents’ income level are significant to explain the variance of the percentage of population adopting the Internet. Among them, well-educated population is the most significant predictor to the high rate of Internet penetration. According to CNNIC survey during the same period, 76% of Internet users hold college degree or above. The variable of rate of home computer ownership is significant as predictor for both Internet popularity and penetration rate, which indicates that the hardware is still a limit for Internet adoption in China. In January 1999, the percentage of home access to the Internet was 44%; since then, the rate has increased gradually. According to the CNNIC’s latest survey in July 2002, 62.1% of Internet users use the Internet at home, followed by in the office (43.3%) and at school (21.8%). Counter intuitively, the rate of urban population has a negative relationship to Internet adoption rate when the variable is controlled in the model. As mentioned before, the urbanization in China is far away from being cosmopolitism. The aggregation of the urban population does not mean a density of population with access to information technology. Since the carrying-out of the reform policy, especially after the removal of restrictions on the mobility of the rural population, a large number of rural residents flooded the city looking for job opportunities (mostly low-income). According to Singh (2001)’s citation of Mansell and When, “[d]evelopment needs, preparedness, affordability and skills developments” all need to be considered as capabilities necessary to take advantage of Information Communication Technologies. Simply residing in cities does not mean access to high technology. On the contrary, an aggregation of larger rural laborers in a city

Authors: Lin, Jia.
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19
rate of urban population and urban residents’ income level are significant to
explain the variance of the percentage of population adopting the Internet.
Among them, well-educated population is the most significant predictor to the
high rate of Internet penetration. According to CNNIC survey during the same
period, 76% of Internet users hold college degree or above. The variable of rate
of home computer ownership is significant as predictor for both Internet
popularity and penetration rate, which indicates that the hardware is still a limit
for Internet adoption in China. In January 1999, the percentage of home access
to the Internet was 44%; since then, the rate has increased gradually. According
to the CNNIC’s latest survey in July 2002, 62.1% of Internet users use the
Internet at home, followed by in the office (43.3%) and at school (21.8%).
Counter intuitively, the rate of urban population has a negative relationship to
Internet adoption rate when the variable is controlled in the model. As mentioned
before, the urbanization in China is far away from being cosmopolitism. The
aggregation of the urban population does not mean a density of population with
access to information technology. Since the carrying-out of the reform policy,
especially after the removal of restrictions on the mobility of the rural population,
a large number of rural residents flooded the city looking for job opportunities
(mostly low-income). According to Singh (2001)’s citation of Mansell and When,
“[d]evelopment needs, preparedness, affordability and skills developments” all
need to be considered as capabilities necessary to take advantage of Information
Communication Technologies. Simply residing in cities does not mean access to
high technology. On the contrary, an aggregation of larger rural laborers in a city


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