Our focus is on how Chinese citizens use the Internet.
Much has been written about Chinese Internet users, but surprisingly few reliable sources are available to draw representative conclusions about how many Chinese are online, which platforms they use, who uses the various platforms, for which purpose, and how Internet development is perceived. The China Internet Survey (CIS) 2018 provides the first nationally representative face-to-face survey on these questions based on the GPS sampling method, which includes a large percentage of migrants not obtained via alternative sampling methods based on lists of registered residents.
Reliable data on Chinese Internet users is rare.
The China Internet Survey 2018 is significant because research on Chinese Internet increasingly relies on non-representative data, such as Internet surveys and social media platforms. Compared to the past, representative public opinion surveys in China are less frequently conducted, not only in collaboration with foreign observers but also by Chinese researchers.
The China Internet Survey 2018 complements official Chinese data.
So far the main source on Chinese Internet users has come from the China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC) under supervision of China’s cyberspace administration agency (WangXinBan), the main regulator of Chinese Internet policy. Based on telephone surveys CNNIC conducts regular reports on Chinese Internet users. The CIS partially overlaps but mostly complements CNNIC data. CIS estimates for Chinese Internet use are even higher at 72 percent compared to CNNIC estimates at 59.6 percent as of December 2018.