(AP) -- China's online population rose to 457 million in 2010 as use of mobile phones to surf the Web spread rapidly, an industry group reported Wednesday.
China's population of Internet users - a group more than 50 percent larger than the whole U.S. population - grew 19 percent in 2010 over the previous year, said the state-sanctioned China Internet Network Information Center.
The number of people surfing the Web by mobile phone jumped 29.6 percent over 2009 to 303 million, the group said.
The communist government actively promotes Internet use for business and education, though it operates an extensive censorship system to block access to material it considers subversive or pornographic.
The number of people using online commerce and Internet entertainment services also grew rapidly in 2010, CNNIC said. It said the number of e-commerce customers rose 48.6 percent over 2009, though it gave no total.
China's rapid rise in Web use has been driven by economic growth that forecasters say was close to 10 percent last year following the country's rapid rebound from the global crisis.
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China Internet Network Information Center (in Chinese):