From 420 million today, China could have as many as 750 million people online by 2015, according to a report released by world-renown consulting firm McKinsey & Company, which reveals all the more urgent for Chinese churches to develop internet ministries.
McKinsey's report "Understanding China's Digital Consumers" was released in late February, which surveyed 4,800 internet users from more than 20 Chinese cities and interviewed 500 non-internet consumers. The report categorized internet users into heavy, moderate, and light, where the youths comprise of the majority.
Among these three categories, the mild users represent around 60 per cent of the overall population, who are mostly high school students, blue collars, and citizens with relatively low education level residing in small to medium sized cities. The medium users represent around 25 per cent, which consists of professionals with relatively higher income level and those of higher positions in corporations.
The heavy users represent 15 per cent, of which two sub-categories are further divided: those between the ages of 18-24 residing in China’s metropolitan cities, digital junkies, who spend over 28 hours on digital media; the other portions are youths living in smaller cities – this group has lower income level, and loves to play internet games.
According to National Bureau of Statistics of China, there are over 457 million internet users in China today, of which 450 million have broadband internet connection; the internet reach is 34.3 per cent of the overall population, making China the country with the world’s largest number of internet users.
In recent years, Chinese ministers in overseas and mainland China are quickly adapting to the use of internet to engage in discipleship training and various missions purposes, which has yielded fruitful results. With the recent forecast by McKinsey & Co, it is all the more urgent for the churches to utilize this tool for the benefit of world missions, requiring all the more resources and dedication.