The article reports that between 150 and 200 million people use the internet, compared to 154 US users, in January.
But the reason I'm posting this diary is because of the question the Forbes writer asks, about why this development was not seen sooner, and her answer.
How could the milestone of China surpassing the U.S. in Internet users have gone so unremarked? It turns out that it isn't that easy collecting data on over a billion people in a country as vast as China, where most people are not connected by phone lines.
The China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC) reports that the number of active Chinese Internet users was 111 million by Dec. 31, 2005, up from 94 million a year earlier. And over the past two years, it has been growing at a steady rate of 18%. However, according to Zhang, the CNNIC polling is conducted by calling fixed line phones. "Young people do not use fixed line phones. They all have mobile phones," Zhang said, explaining why he believes the CNNIC is reporting lower-than-accurate numbers.
There's been a lot of discussion, and often negative characterization of internet based polling. This article hilights how a huge, huge trend failed to be picked up by the polling technique currently considered the gold standard. That may soon change. Pollsters like Zogby have been developing email initiated internet polling to a fine art. With the under 25 generation almost exclusively using cell phones, not even owning land-lines, any polling will fail to reflect their presence. Even older folks are using phones differently now.
At one point, phone polling was challenged as not good enough-- that only face-to-face polling was good enough. We know where that went.
By the way, the hottest site in China appears to be sohu.com, which the article reports is above amazon.com and aol.com in popularity.