Total web use in China has risen to around 513 million users, according to data released by the country's web monitoring agency.
The China Internet Network Information Centre reported that the country is now home to more than half a billion web users, up from 457 million in the previous year. The figure is believed to cover roughly 40 per cent of the population.
According to local news service China Daily, the 12 per cent increase is the smallest annual gain in web usage the country has seen in nearly a decade.
The growth of internet access in China is seen by many in the industry as a lucrative new market. Qualcomm chief Paul Jacobs said last week that the country's particularly high mobile use was attracting interest from vendors.
China's growth has not been without controversy, however. The country has found itself at odds with search and web services providers for its strict censorship policies. Google famously withdrew many of its operations from the country after finding itself at odds with state agencies.
The country has also found itself involved in claims of cyber espionage. The infamous 'Operation Aurora' attacks were widely believed to have been the work of individuals acting with state-sponsored organisations.
The suspicion towards China's government has been reflected in overseas dealings with the nation's businesses. Telecoms giant Huawei has suggested that the US government had been working to prevent its access into the North American electronics market.
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