China has kicked off 2016 with a serious milestone – more than half their 1.37 billion population is now connected to the internet, according to a report released by state-backed China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC).

As of January first 2016, 688 million Chinese people had access to the internet, accounting for 50.3% of the population. The report also revealed that over 90% of the country’s web users access the internet through their smartphone.

China has seen an explosion in mobile-enabled services in the past three years, spurred on by massive capital injections from the country’s internet giants including Alibaba, Tencent and Baidu. Mobile services have extended across retail, banking, education, travel and lifestyle in urban centers, capitalizing on the logistics problems posed by China’s overpopulated cities.

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Cate Cadell

Cate is a tech writer. She worked as a journalist in Australia, Mongolia and Myanmar. You can reach her (in Chinese or English) at: @catecadell or catecadell@technode.com