China’s internet sector continues steady growth, new official figures show

With a fast-growing netizen population, China’s internet industry is one of the largest and most exciting in the world. China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) released new numbers (in Chinese) on the internet industry’s first half of the year performance on Monday. The official figures show the overall internet industry maintained steady growth, and business revenue as well as operating profit both posted positive growth. For mobile apps, MIIT noted that online gaming and video/music live streaming are the two categories that see brighter prospects.

Revenue of internet companies (limited to enterprises with revenue over RMB 3 million) in China tallied to RMB 417.1 billion during the first half of 2018—a 22.9% growth from the same period last year.

Internet businesses in Guangdong, Shanghai, and Beijing topped the charts in terms of growth of revenue, which posted a 27.8%, 22.2%, and 31.5%, respectively.

Revenue growth (%) of internet businesses in 2017 and 2018 (Image Credit: MIIT)

According to MIIT, the industry invested more heavily on innovation. During the first half of 2018, the industry invested RMB 28.2 billion in total into R&D efforts, a 17.1% increase from the previous year.

The mobile app market continued to expand. As of June, 4.21 million mobile apps were available for download in China—Chinese third-party app stores have 2.4 million apps available, and Apple app store (China) has over 1.81 million apps on the shelf.

Mobile apps across categories—gaming, utilities, social networking, and video/music—have been downloaded over 100 billion times. Gaming and utility apps, in particular, each saw over  200 billion downloads.

China mobile apps market size (Image Credit: MIIT)

Total revenue generated by the information services sector, which represented over 90% of the entire internet industry in China, was RMB 378.3 billion—over 23% growth from the previous year.

Revenue generated by ecommerce platforms increased by nearly 39% from 2017 with RMB 145.5 billion. Total revenue of online games (including web and mobile) also grew by over 23%.

China Internet Report 2018: Chinese internet giants are expanding and so is government regulation