China now ranks third behind the US and Japan in terms of the number of Internet users, CNNIC said, although Japanese subscriber figures include the large number of people who access the Web via their mobile phones.
A Nielsen/NetRatings survey carried out earlier this year suggested that China has overtaken Japan in the number of Internet subscribers, although it is still well behind the US subscriber figure of 166 million.
China's subscriber numbers still represent an Internet penetration rate of just 3.6%, largely because only about one-third of the population have access to a telephone network.
Local experts attribute the increase in the number of Internet users to government efforts to build infrastructure and restructure the telecommunications industry.
Two million, or 4.4%, access the Internet via broadband links. Around 1.3 million subscribers use devices other than computers, such as information appliances or mobile terminals, to access the Web.
China has around 300,000 Web sites, of which 126,000 are hosted under the .cn country code. Beijing is the host computer centre of the country, with 31% of .cn hosts located there, well ahead of Guangdong province and Shanghai.
China's Internet subscriber population is 60% male and 70% of subscribers are under 30. Users stay online for an average of 8.3 hours per week, send 5.3 e-mails per week and receive 6.5 genuine e-mails as well as 6.9 junk e-mails a week.
CNNIC has issued a half-yearly report on the state of China's Internet use since October 1997, when it reported a total of 620,000 Internet subscribers in China. The latest report can be found online at www.cnnic.net.cn/develst/2002-7e/index.shtml