China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) minister Miao Wei announced yesterday (link via Google Translate) that the Chinese government plans to increase the number of households with broadband access, with more than 70 percent of China's Internet users getting 4M broadband service by the end of 2013. The initiative is part of the 2013 Broadband China project, which aims to increase FTTH (fiber-to-the-home) coverage by more than 35 million households this year. In 2012, the number of households with FTTH increased 49 percent to 94 million, the MIIT said. The government also plans to add 1.3 million wireless hotspots this year, Miao said.
MIIT's latest update on its Broadband China project follows an earlier one in September (link via Google Translate), when the Ministry said it plans to have broadband coverage in China hit 250 million users by the end of 2015.
Expanding broadband coverage is crucial to improving Internet infrastructure for small- to mid-sized businesses in China, especially since the country is lagging behind other member countries in the Organistion for Economic Co-operation and Development (OCED). As of December 2012, China had 564 million Internet users, a penetration rate of 39.9 percent, according to a report by the China Internet Network Information Center.
In that report, the CNNIC also stated that stated that: “At present the Internet penetration rate among SMEs in China still remained at a low level and the broadband construction needed to be pushed further. Meanwhile, compared with the penetration rates of online purchase and online sale of some member countries at the end of 2011 published by OECD, the portion of online sale among SMEs in China was 25.3%, and that of online sale was 26.5%, both remaining at a low level.”