China’s Internet Industry Will Match US Level Of Growth

According to the elite of China’s Internet industry, the expansion rate of China’s online industry will soon be comparable to the one in the United States.

“We are expecting a similar pattern of growth as in the US,” said Vicky Hung, vice president of business development for China Internet Corporation.

Hung explains that such growth will occur because of improvements in technological infrastructure, expansion of the online advertising market, and the presence of international players.

China’s Internet market has come along way since the mid-1990’s, when it was totally controlled by the government and there was little access to the public.

Since then, the industry has expanded to nearly 2 million users and, based on current growth, will easily reach 6 million by 2002.

“China’s Internet will be more popular and grow faster than the US because it is in a vacuum,” commented Charles Zhang, founder of Internet Technologies China Inc., owner of China’s SOHOO portal site. The US Internet industry has had to compete with the traditional media such as prime time television where China has had no such development.

However, some industry analysts contend that the biggest obstacle to growth in China’s Internet industry and, specifically, growth in e-commerce is the lack of credit capability among China’s consumers.

China still does not have a proper credit regulatory system and, therefore is far from having the credit usage that is prevalent in other countries.

“This e-commerce problem is hyped,” commented Zhang. “You only need a combined effort of Web sites and banks to issue some sort of card.”

“The credit card system will be leap frogged,” stated Jack Sanders, president of Xianzai Beijing, a popular start-up. “Direct debit and ATM cards will probably be used.”

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