China’s Internet: a Big Time-Killing Toy
You may know that, in 2008, China surpassed the United states to become the nation with the world’s most Internet users. What you might not know is what China’s netizens do when surfing the ‘Net. Perhaps unsurprisingly, they mostly kill time, even more than their American counterparts.
This was the conclusion reached by a recent survey, conducted jointly by the China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC) and the Pew Research Center. Comparing the Internet activities of American and Chinese users, it concluded that the former spend more time on productive activities such as e-mailing, searches, and online banking, while the later lean toward leisure activities like online gaming, instant messaging, and downloading music.
Easy access to pirated media content encourages the Chinese to spend time downloading the latest Hollywood blockbusters, episodes of American television shows (“Prison Break” is especially popular here), or newly released albums.
But this is only one part of the equation. An examination of the demographics of Chinese Internet users helps further explain their predilection for leisure activities.
The CNNIC-Pew survey reported that one-quarter of Chinese Internet users earn less than $75 a month. Fewer than 30 percent hold a college degree; more than 65 percent are under the age of 30. Thirty-three percent are currently students.
To summarize: the majority of China’s Internet users are young, relatively poor, not well educated, and have plenty of time to kill.
To gain further perspective, let’s try to imagine a day in the life of a typical Chinese web surfer.
First, he turns on the computer screen to see if his friends have sent him any IMs during the night. (He didn’t switch off the computer last night because it was running BitTorrent software to download the complete “Star Wars” movies, in HD 1080p.) Then he has fills up his 30-dollar knock-off iPod with some music. The radio played the Black Eyed Peas’ new single which he thought was nice, so, he goes to Baidu (China’s biggest search engine, which provides free music downloads) and quickly downloads their new album. He fires up the online game “World of Warcraft” and switches to the auto-mode to improve his ranking.
The Black Eyes Peas’ album plus the new “Star Trek” movie, which he downloaded the day before, keep him occupied all through the day. An instant message from his online gaming buddies alerts him that there will be a big battle to fight in 45 minutes. Another message contains links to several interesting videos his friends shared with him on Youku (a Chinese knock-off of Youtube.) While watching these videos, he orders a one-dollar takeaway noodle from downstairs.
The battle is fierce and exciting, and continues well into the night. The result is lucrative: he farms about $30 worth virtual gold that he can trade on Taobao, a copycat of Ebay. Finally, BitTorrent software shows that “Star Wars” has been downloaded. It also recommends he download the cartoon version of the films. Why not? He hits the download button and switches off the screen.
As we can see, for our young friend the Internet provides an opportunity to use the one resource he has in abundance: time.
Follow us on twitter@thefastertimes
- 1 Amanda Bynes’s Behavior Revealed to Be Elaborate PSA
- 2 Obama Horrified by the Grammar in Our Emails
- 3 Monster Fart Prompting Management to Rethink “Open Office”
- 4 NSA Demanded Access To Un-Filtered Instagram Photos
- 5 Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson Ambushed By Alan ‘The Paper’ Rubinstein
- 6 ‘Licensed to Kim Jong Il’ Records 27th Straight Year Atop N. Korean Charts
- 7 ‘A/S/L’ Most Asked Question At Kaplan Online University Reunion
- 8 Vice Magazine Now Only Hiring Writers Who Fail Drug Test
- 9 Stanley Cup Final One Blowout Away From “Boston Massacre” Headline Outrage
- 10 Henry Cavill to be Replaced by Stack of Pancakes in “Man of Steel” Sequel