China on the Internet? Bigger Than Baghdad Bob

bagdad_bob_large Even if you’re as suspicious of Chinese government statistics as I am — any statistical-sounding Sino release that contains the phrase "the state-owned Chinese Internet Network Information Center said"  should generally be read with as much skepticism as the morning update from Baghdad Bob — there is no doubt that China will soon be a larger consumer web presence than the U.S.

China’s total number of Internet users rose 53% to 210 million at the end of 2007 from 137 million at the end of 2006, the state-owned China Internet Network Information Center said. The center said the number of Internet users rose from 162 million at the end of June. China is now just five million users short of surpassing the U.S. as the world’s largest Internet market, according to the center. It said about 16% of the Chinese population now has access to the Internet, compared with a global average of 19%.

[WSJ via TechCrunch]