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See how the Chinese surf the 'Net
Study shows most users favor regulation, seldom make online purchases and prefer entertainment news.
November 17, 2005: 1:26 PM EST
Power slacking on the job
Survey: Workers waste more time than employers expect, costing companies $759 billion a year.(full story)

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - The Chinese may be using the Internet in ever greater numbers, but their attitudes towards and needs in cyberspace may be different from what most people expect.

The overwhelming majority of Chinese feel some Internet content -- such as pornography and violence -- should be regulated, according to a study released Thursday by Professor Guo Liang of the Beijing-based Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

The report also noted that although the average Chinese Internet user spends nearly three hours a day online, 75 percent have never made an Internet purchase and 42 percent never use a search engine.

But if U.S. business want to get in on the action on the ground level, they should learn to speak the language.

Eighty-five percent spend their time viewing mainland Chinese-language content, while only three percent viewed overseas foreign language content.

"The Internet industry is attached to content," said Liang, who said up until recently few U.S. companies were crating product in Chinese "They need some local people to create some local content."

Other Chinese Internet behavior noted in the study include:

-- The Chinese go online for news more than anything else, but mostly it's for entertainment news. They also use the Internet more for chatting and games, as opposed to seeking information or for work-related purposes.

-- The Chinese prefer instant messaging to e-mail. Liang said that as a culture the Chinese prefer instant communication and have long shunned other delayed messaging devices like answering machines.

-- Nearly half of the country's 103 million Internet users use broadband.

-- Sixty percent believe the Internet will provide more opportunities to criticize the government.

-- A far greater portion of single people used the Internet (77 percent) compared to married people (33 percent.)

-- The Internet still ranked well behind television and newspapers as an important source of information.

The survey was based on door-to-door interviews with 2,376 people in Chinese cities including Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu, and Changsha.

The study was funded by the The Markle Foundation, a New York-based organization that promotes technology research and use.


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