China Internet users hit 564 million in 2012

China's population of Internet users grew by 50.9 million people in 2012 to 564 million, official data showed Tuesday, with mobile devices the main means of online access.

A woman views the Chinese social media website Weibo at a cafe in Beijing on April 2, 2012.

The China Internet Network Information Center announced the figures on its website. The total population numbers 1.3 billion people.

The centre last year reported that the number of Internet users surged past the 500 million mark in 2011 for the first time.

Tuesday's figures showed that the number of people accessing the Internet via mobile devices in 2012 increased 18.1 percent to 420 million.

The use of micro-blogging services -- similar to Twitter -- also surged, the report said, with the total number of users increasing by 58.73 million to 309 million.

Internet use has steadily increased despite strict censorship via what is known as The Great Firewall -- the country's system of online limits and restrictions.

Online shoppers in the world's second largest economy, meanwhile, rose 24.8 percent to 242 million.

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Writer: AFP
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