BEIJING: China's online population hit 772 million at the end of last year, of whom, 40.74 million were added in 2017, up 5.6 percent from a year ago, according to a report on China's internet development released Wednesday.
China's internet availability rate reached 55.8 percent, exceeding the global average by 4.1 percentage points, according to the report released by the China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC).
In rural areas, the online population reached 209 million last year, up by 7.93 million from the end of 2016.
A total of 753 million Chinese used mobile phones to surf the internet last year, making up 97.5 percent of the online population, said the report.
Smart devices could tap more potential to grow the online industry, and online public services as well as poverty reduction programs have created sense of fulfillment for many Chinese, said the CNNIC.