NEW YORK, NY -- (Marketwire) -- 01/27/12 -- Last week, the government-run China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC) released a report stating that the number of Internet users in China soared to 513 million last year. Half of these internet users are using weibos -- microblogs similar to Twitter -- that can circumvent the country's powerful censors. The Paragon Report examines investing opportunities in China's Internet Sector and provides equity research on Renren, Inc. (NYSE: RENN) and Baidu, Inc. (NASDAQ: BIDU). Access to the full company reports can be found at:
Almost 56 million Chinese used the Internet for the first time in 2011. The BBC notes, however, that roughly 60 percent of China's population remains offline. The rise in the number of people using the weibos was dramatic, CNNIC data shows, jumping to 250 million from just 63 million at the end of 2010.
As noted in the Associated Press, weibo users have been able to get around the governments' tight censorship -- dubbed the "Great Firewall of China" -- by re-posting information and images as fast as the authorities can take them down.
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China's surging microblog population has led the country's government to expand its trial program that requires users of the country's wildly popular microblog services to disclose their identities to the government in order to post comments online, the government's top Internet regulator said.
Critics say real-name registration is an attempt to deter negative comments about the government and to make it easier to trace the authors of such postings, the BBC reports.
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