We're Number Two! We're Number Two!

It was almost inevitable that China or India would eventually surpass the US in the total number of Internet users. Both countries have about four times the population of the United States. China already has the most cellphone users, and now it has the most people online as well.

The number of Chinese on the Internet hit more than 220 million as of February, according to estimates from official Chinese statistics by the Beijing-based research group BDA China. The government is likely to confirm the leap at its half-yearly report in July.

The longtime Internet leader, the USA, which founded and developed the network of computers, had 216 million users at the end of 2007, according to Nielsen/NetRatings.

The percentage of American users — 71% — still exceeds China's 17%. China has 1.3 billion people, compared with nearly 304 million in the USA.

China, however, has a higher growth rate, says BDA's chairman, Duncan Clark. By the end of March, for example, Chinese users climbed to 233 million.

No word on exactly how many of those users are playing MMORPGs to earn points to sell to American players trying to get ahead. But Sun Xin, a 19 year old student quoted in the article said: "My friends all agree — no Internet, no life," ... "We use it every day for MSN, and I love playing games like World of Warcraft."

OK, WoW I understand; but MSN? I guess Bill Gates was working while we were all asleep after all.
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