This does not surprise me at all. Why? because folks who can afford Internet in emerging economies are finite and as a result the next big surge would come when more affordable plans are offered, and the PC penetration rises. I am not sure if these numbers include people who access the Internet on their cellphones. I think China is all about “personal communicators” like Motorola A388 and Sony Ericsson P 900.
Wall Street Journal: The China Internet Network Information Center, a semiofficial think tank, said the number of Chinese Internet users at the end of June was 87 million, up 9.4% from the end of last year, and 28% more than in June 2003. Both of those percentage increases are the smallest since collection of statistics on Chinese Internet use began in late 1997. As of the end of June, just 6.6% of Chinese regularly access the Internet, compared with more than 70% of Americans. In the year ended in June 2003, Internet use grew 48%, while in the year ended in June 2002 it expanded 72%. China, home to 20% of the world’s population, accounts for 12% of Internet users world-wide. (via Emergic.org)