China's Online Population Grows to 564 Million

China isn't just the most populated country in the world, it also boasts the most Internet users. That's not surprising since it's only logical for those two traits to go hand-in-hand, but the numbers are staggering nonetheless. For example, China's online population grew 10 percent last year, adding 51 million additional users.

That brings to the total number of Internet users living in China to 564 million, or about 249 million more than the offline population of the United States. If China's online users formed their own country, it would be the third most populated territory in the world, behind China (1.34 billion people) and India (1.21 billion people).

China Internet Bar

Just the number of online users China added in 2012 is more than the population of South Korea, Spain, Canada, and several other countries (individually, not combined), in case further perspective is needed.

Mobile is playing a big role in China's online growth. According to data released by the China Internet Network Information Center, surfing the web in China from mobile phones, tablets, and other wireless devices rose 18.1 percent to 420 million last year.

What makes all this even more interesting is the number of restrictions China places on online activities. The Internet is highly censored and regulated in China. There's even a new law that requires Internet users in China to register their real names when signing up with a network provider, which critics say will make it more unlikely for individuals to point out corruption for fear of retaliation by Chinese authorities.