China’s Digital Growth This May Amaze You


China’s digital growth contradicts itself in several ways, with its population sharply divided in its usage. Half its 1.3 billion citizens spend time on ecommerce sites and on the social media chatting every day. The rest have never logged onto the internet to reengage with friends, or read the news. China’s digital growth stands in strange contrast to 90% internet saturation in Europe and the U.S.

Mobile Streets Ahead of Internet in China’s Digital Growth

A World Economic Forum report yesterday affirmed that mobile literacy is higher in China than anywhere else, with more consumers connected than in any other market. Moreover, the quantity of devices stands at an average of one per citizen. Smartphones are booming, as Google’s android system becomes deeply entrenched in the scramble to profit from digital growth in China.

China’s Internet Divide and What’s the Cause

In the 1970’s, China was facing uncontrolled population growth. It introduced a policy of one child per family, with financial penalties of 3% – 10% of income for parents who did not comply. This societal engineering has caused three social anomalies:

  • The 4-2-1 problem: When the only child becomes a parent, they have to support two parents and four grandparents on their own
  • A ratio of 100 girls to 118 boys: This reflects the traditional importance of having a son, and modern methods of gender-selective abortion
  • A generation of only children: They have no siblings to grow up with, and few opportunities to develop p2p social skills in infancy

China’s Digital Growth

The graphic obtained from the Nanjing Marketing Group shows that an age-related user pattern has been flowing through the years since 1998, as the one-child age group matured and grew to social independence.

The World Economic Forum suggests this is a reflection of “a generation without siblings, but connecting with peers to discuss the high expectations of their fathers, mothers and grandparents” – and they are doing so online on the backbone of China’s digital growth.


About Author

Social Brand Watch (SBW) is a collection of experts in digital, mobile and social media in China. SBW was created to complement Resonance's China Social Branding Report, a bi-weekly report focusing on modern marketing methods of the world's top brands in China.

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