BEIJING, Aug. 20 (Xinhua) -- The number of internet users in China hit 802 million at the end of June, up 3.8 percent from six months ago, according to a report on the country's internet development released Monday.
The increase brought the country's internet availability rate to 57.7 percent, with 26.3 percent of internet users living in rural areas, according to the 42nd bi-annual statistical report from the China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC).
It also highlighted the growing use of the internet among those aged from 30 to 49, as 39.9 percent of them going online in the first half of the year.
The report said that 788 million Chinese used mobile phones to surf the internet in the first half of 2018, making up 98.3 percent of the total internet users.
Their cumulative mobile internet traffic reached 26.6 billion GB, an increase of 199.6 percent.
In the second quarter, the average download speed for 4G users was 20.22 Mb/s, up 50.2 percent year-on-year, according to the report.
China's international internet gateway bandwidth also expanded to 8,826,302 Mbps, up 20.6 percent from the end of 2017, said the CNNIC.
According to the report, the percentage of Chinese internet users using online financial services rose from 16.7 percent to 21 percent in the first half of 2018, despite tightened supervision on the industry.
The number of online financial service users in June increased by 39.74 million, up 30.9 percent from the end of 2017.
At the same time, online shopping and online payment users accounted for 71 percent of China's total online users.
Online shoppers numbered 569 million. The value of online retail sales reached 4.08 trillion yuan (about 594 billion U.S. dollars) during the first half of 2018, a year-on-year increase of 30.1 percent.
Online takeout service users also continued to increase. As of June 2018, 43.6 percent of Chinese internet users had used mobile phones to order takeout food.
In the first half of 2018, the internet has provided more comprehensive and profound impacts on China's employment situation, the report said, adding that "it provides the youth with low-cost and low-threshold opportunities, stimulates large-scale business start-ups, and unleashes grassroots innovation capabilities."
IMPROVING PUBLIC SERVICES
By June 2018, users of China's online government services reached 470 million, accounting for 58.6 percent of the total online users.
They can access 19,868 government websites and 137,677 verified Sina Weibo microblog accounts run by government agencies.
In addition, the registered users of the Civic Service account on popular app WeChat also reached 503 million in May 2018, a 20.6 percent increase from the end of 2017.
E-government has helped ensure the effectiveness of public services as well as allow the public to obtain information or services in a more convenient and faster way, according to the report.