According to a report on the development of the Internet in China given by Hu Qiheng, chairwoman of the Internet Society of China, at the Second Internet Conference of China, the number of Internet surfers in China is expected to reach 78 million by the end of December, with 500,000 websites and 30 million online computers in China also expected.

Hu did, however, admit that in comparison with developed countries, China' Internet in China is still in its first stage, with the number of Internet surfers in China accounting for only 5.2% of the country's total population, while the percentage in the United States is 63.2 and the average percentage among all countries is 10.7.

At the two-day conference which concluded Sunday, Xi Guohua, vice-minister of information industry, said the ministry will strengthen its macro planning and guidance of the Internet industry and push forward the upgrading of the Internet with a focus on market. At the same time, the ministry will encourage the development of public databases, speed up the establishment of a system for information sharing, and promote the use of the Internet in fields such as the industrial sector, education, culture and health care.

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