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Factors Influencing the Diffusion of the Internet in China: 1997-2001
Unformatted Document Text:  7 will exceed that of Australia and Japan in 2001 and 2002 respectively. BDA China and the Strategies Group in 1999 forecasted that China would become one of the world’s largest Internet markets as early as 2003. The London-based Phillips Group predicted in 1999 that China’s Internet user would exceed 85 million by the end of 2005. The Yankee Group in 1999 said that China would have 40 million people online by 2001 (Lu, 2000). Nelson/Netrating (2002) estimated that 55 million Chinese people are able to connect to the Internet from home. All these statistics and predictions reflect the concern for the future of China’s Internet development. The Internet is a combination of information technology and media whose diffusion depends on the scale of connections within global networks; therefore, the number of Internet users is vital to the development of this technology. This paper intends to describe the diffusion of the Internet in China between 1997 and 2002, to see if the diffusion process fits the S diffusion model. At the same time, the impact of social system on this diffusion process will be examined. Rogers (1994) states that the social structure of the system affects the innovations’ diffusion . By using the regional data, this study tries to determine the factors influencing China’s Internet diffusion. China has the largest population and one of the most unbalanced geographical distributions in the world. The diffusion of Internet in China is not consistent. Take Guangdong Province as an example: while the province has the largest Internet population in the country (2,130,000 in 2001), its penetration rate is only 2.5%, at the same level with Fujian province (2.3%) whose Internet

Authors: Lin, Jia.
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will exceed that of Australia and Japan in 2001 and 2002 respectively. BDA
China and the Strategies Group in 1999 forecasted that China would become
one of the world’s largest Internet markets as early as 2003. The London-based
Phillips Group predicted in 1999 that China’s Internet user would exceed 85
million by the end of 2005. The Yankee Group in 1999 said that China would
have 40 million people online by 2001 (Lu, 2000). Nelson/Netrating (2002)
estimated that 55 million Chinese people are able to connect to the Internet from
home. All these statistics and predictions reflect the concern for the future of
China’s Internet development. The Internet is a combination of information
technology and media whose diffusion depends on the scale of connections
within global networks; therefore, the number of Internet users is vital to the
development of this technology.
This paper intends to describe the diffusion of the Internet in China
between 1997 and 2002, to see if the diffusion process fits the S diffusion model.
At the same time, the impact of social system on this diffusion process will be
examined. Rogers (1994) states that the social structure of the system affects the
innovations’ diffusion
.
By using the regional data, this study tries to determine
the factors influencing China’s Internet diffusion.
China has the largest population and one of the most unbalanced
geographical distributions in the world. The diffusion of Internet in China is not
consistent. Take Guangdong Province as an example: while the province has the
largest Internet population in the country (2,130,000 in 2001), its penetration rate
is only 2.5%, at the same level with Fujian province (2.3%) whose Internet


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