Today in China there are over 130 million internet users.
Take your mind back to 1997 and the reality, according to this fascinating Wired article, was a world away:
In the hype-ridden People’s Republic of China, 1996 was the “Year of the Internet.” No matter that, by the highest estimates, only 150,000 Chinese people – barely 1 in 10,000 – are actually wired. Or that most mainland Chinese have never touched a computer, or that there are 17 people, on average, for every phone line. From Beijing in the north to Guangzhou near the border with Hong Kong in the south, breathless news reports insist that China’s traditional greeting, “Ni chifanle ma?” – Have you eaten? – is being replaced. Now any forward-looking person asks, “Ni shangwangle ma?”: Are you wired?