July 3, 2005 It is often joked that when America sneezes, the world catches a cold. Consider then the severe dependence the world might have on China fifty years from now as the world’s most populous nation begins to flex its economic superpowers. The numbers are difficult to comprehend. The margin for error in calculating the Chinese population is greater than the entire American population. Already there are more English speakers in China than there are in America. The Sleeping Dragon is not only awakening, it is also getting wired and officially as of this week, has more than 100 million internet users. America invented the internet and still uses it more than any other nation with 220 million users. But America’s internet usage has plateaud at around 70% penetration while China’s modest 7.3% penetration will continue to grow rapidly for many years, making it the world’s largest internet population within a decade.

The latest Chinese figure was announced by Xi Guohua, an official with the Ministry of Information Industry, according to the official Xinhua News Agency. The accompanying charts were created from data obtained from Internet World Stats and the China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC)