China’s Internet Market Said to Double in Six Months

China’s Internet market has picked up momentum in the first half of 1998 with registered Internet users reaching 1.175 million by the end of June, according to statistics released by the China National Network Information Center (CNNIC).


This is almost twice the number of Internet users at the end of 1997, which
stood at 620,000 nationwide, according to Information Gatekeepers, which is
planning a conference in New York later this month called China Telecom 2000.


The two major commercial Internet service providers in China are ChinaNet, run
by China Telecom under the Ministry of Information Industry and ChinaGBN
(Golden Bridge Network) built and operated by Ji Tong Communications Co.,
which was established by the former Ministry of Electronics Industry. Unicom-
Sparkice, a joint venture between China Unicom and Sparkice, is another major
ISP.


According to Edward Zeng, CEO of Unicom-Sparkice, his company will have about
25% of the commercial ISP market after the proposed merger between Unicom-
Sparkice and Info Highway, another ISP in China. Unicom-Sparkice has opened
six Internet Cafes in Beijing and is planning to unveil 100 more throughout
China.


The company is also constructing an English/Chinese electronic commerce site
called ChinaRep, which will provide company and product information, home page design services, Chinese/English translation and secretarial services, and access to its Dragon Pulse, a list of about one million Chinese firms.


A license has just been granted to Unicom-Sparkice by China Unicom for the
provision of Internet Telephony, Internet Fax and Internet Backbone services
by Sparkice, said Zeng. The Internet Telephony service proposed by Sparkice
will cost 10 cents per minute for a call from China to the United States,
significantly less than what China Telecom charges to make the connection. And
Zeng said he has obtained an e-commerce banking license from the Bank of China
that enables him to offer online banking via the Internet.


Zeng will speak on the emerging Internet market in China at the upcoming China
Telecom 2000 conference in New York on Sept. 29-30, organized by Information
Gatekeepers. Other keynote speakers are from China Telecom, China Unicom,
Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications, and HuaGuang CATV Co.

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