This year’s World Internet Conference in Wuzhen was marked by the appearance of Apple’s Tim Cook and Google’s Sundar Pichai (and their cognitive dissonance) but there was another news from Wuzhen which has largely passed under the radar. The Chinese internet is about to get a lot faster meaning that it will finally be able to climb from its abysmal global ranking at 134th (or 86th, depending on who you ask).

China is in the midst of a push to build the world’s largest IPv6 (Internet Protocol version 6) network. What does this mean? Like the rest of the world, China uses IP addresses based on a communication standard known as IPv4 but the explosion of the internet, including mobile, intelligent devices and wearables, is making their supply tight. According to the latest data from China Internet Network Information Center, China’s 751 million Internet users only have 338 million IPv4 addresses, far less than total demand.

“Both IPv4 and IPv6 are like the internet’s oil fields and the IP addresses are oil. Now that IPv4 resources are basically exhausted, it’s hard to continue extracting. But oil is pouring out of IPv6,” president of IT solutions company New H3C Yu Yingtao explained to Xinhua (in Chinese).

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Masha Borak

Masha Borak is a technology reporter based in Beijing. Write to her at masha.borak [at] technode.com. Pitches with the word "disruptive" will be ignored. Read a good book - learn some more adjectives.