More Chinese citizens than ever have access to the Internet thanks to mobile technology driving Internet penetration.
According a governmental report released by the China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC), an estimated 51 million new Chinese users accessed the Internet in 2012, bringing the number of online users to 564 million, an increase of ten percent. This, in turn, has boosted the country’s penetration rate by 3.8 percentage points -- reaching 42.1 percent -- since the end of 2011.
This happened in Japan about a decade ago when everyone got their iMode phones from DoCoMo. The number of people accessing the Internet skyrocketed even though most never knew they were on the net at all.
DoCoMo's iMode was/is a walled garden of services for feature phones. My first iMode phone had a green screen and no camera. When you signed in to use iMode services to read news, get weather information, play games, or look at mobile websites (sites in cHTML) you were using the Internet, but it was all branded as iMode services. Other carriers used WAP to accomplish much the same. As everything was branded as a carrier service few people knew they were on the net when using them, although they were aggregated into the number of online Japanese for reports such as this.