"BEIJING, China (CNN) January 14, 2009 -- China surpassed the United States in 2008 as the world's top user of the Internet, according to a government-backed research group.
"The number of Web surfers in the country grew by nearly 42 percent to 298 million, according to the China Internet Network Information Center's January report. And there's plenty of room for growth, as only about 1 in every 4 Chinese has Internet access.
"The rapid growth in China's Internet use can be tied to its swift economic gains and the government's push for the construction of telephone and broadband lines in the country's vast rural areas, the report says.
"The Chinese government wants phone and broadband access in each village by 2010.
"Nearly 91 percent of China's Internet users are surfing the Web with a broadband connection -- an increase of 100 million from 2007. Mobile phone Internet users totaled 118 million by the end of 2008" (http://www.cnn.com/2009/TECH/01/14/china.internet/index.html, accessed 01-13-2010).