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China tech

China's online population surpasses 1bn in shadow of tech crackdown

Pandemic fuels user growth in e-commerce and digital payments

People playing computer games at a digital expo in Shanghai in June 2020. From e-commerce to streaming to ride-hailing, China's online sector has boomed during the pandemic.   © Reuters

BEIJING -- China now has more than 1 billion internet users, a government agency said Friday, as the likes of Alibaba Group Holding draw in more of the world's most populous country with services ranging from shopping to bill payment.

China counted 1.01 billion internet users as of June, up 8% from a year earlier to top the 1 billion mark for the first time, according to the China Internet Network Information Center. Internet penetration rose to 71.6%.

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