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Web Users in Metro China Have a Vast Digital Content Appetite

Urban China web users lead world in digital content consumption

April 17, 2013 | Advertising & Marketing

As in many other countries, social networking is one of the top digital activities in metro China, reaching 72% of web users, according to an October online survey of 1,000 residents by consultancy KPMG. Interestingly, streaming music was as popular as social networking, and downloading music followed closely behind, suggesting that music listening overall sees the most interest from internet users.

The number of activities performed by over half of internet users was long, and included streaming films, accessing online news, streaming live TV programming, playing online games and reading digital books.

Digital Activities of Internet Users in Metro China, Oct 2012 (% of respondents)

When KPMG looked at how urban China’s internet use stacked up against other regions surveyed around the world, it became even more evident how engaged this contingent is by the web. Metro China led other international regions in music listening, at an overall 77% penetration rate. International news was also extremely popular, accessed by 69% of internet users, and perhaps a reflection of difficulty finding reliable domestic news sources. Metro China also led in accessing online travel content, games, sports content, TV and movie streaming, digital books, editorials and podcasts.

While internet penetration rates are not high in China overall, particularly in more rural areas, for those able to log on in urban environments, the appetite for digital media seems insatiable.

Online Content Accessed by Internet Users in Select Countries/Regions, Oct 2012 (% of respondents in each group)

In terms of the time spent with various media, metro China internet users reported watching about 11 hours of TV in the month of October, behind the worldwide average of 13 hours. All other media activities, which were largely internet-based, met or exceeded worldwide averages for total time spent per month.

Time Spent with Media by Internet Users in Select Countries/Regions, Oct 2012 (hours)

High digital engagement in urban China suggests that as internet expands to other areas in the country, users will jump at the chance to access content. This also means there is a significant opportunity for advertisers coming into the market. eMarketer estimates that digital ad spend will reach nearly $10 billion this year. Between 2012 through 2016, the projected compound annual growth rate (CAGR) is expected to reach 24.4%.

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