World’s most populous nation China now also boasts of the largest net savvy population in the world as more than a third of its population were hooked on to the Internet by the end of 2010, according to the China Internet Network Information Center.

The total number of people with Internet connections in China rose to 457 million at the end of 2010, which is 73.3 million higher than the numbers in 2009. The current number also represents 34.3 percent of China’s population, the Center said in a report.

The survey was conducted among 60,000 Chinese citizens and 5,103 enterprises in 31 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities in the Chinese mainland, and at least another 90,000 citizens took part in the online survey.

China, which has banned social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, also witnessed a growth in its Internet usage with Chinese netizens spending about 18.3 hours online a week or about 2.61 hours a day, thus propelling blogging in the nation with over 53.11 million bloggers using various Chinese social networking sites, the Center said.

Ever since and introduced their applications at the end of 2009, microblogging in China rose rapidly, according to Huang Chengqing, vice-chairman of Internet Society of China, the nation’s Internet watchdog.

Online shopping rose 48.6 percent year-on-year while e-banking transactions increased by 48.2 percent and online payment services rose 45.8 percent, the report said., a Chinese-language website for online auctions and shopping founded by Alibaba Group, reported nearly 200 million registered members and more than $29.07 billion in turnover, creating at least 1 million online sales related jobs, the report said.

The number of people going online via laptops grew at a faster pace than that of those surfing the net using mobile phones or desktops.

At least 15 percent more Chinese netizens or 45.7 percent of netizens used laptops to surf the Internet over the previous year.

The number of Chinese Internet users employing mobile phones to surf the Internet rose 5.4 percent over the previous year to about 303 million, which constitutes 66.2 percent of Internet users.

The momentum of wireless Internet growth was strong although the growth speed of China's mobile phone Internet users slowed last year, said Wang Jianzhou, chairman of China Mobile.

Internet penetration in China’s rural areas rose as the number of Internet users increased 16.9 percent over the previous year to 125 million.

China’s Internet capability faces challenges despite the progress. The average connection speed in China last year was a mere 100.9 kbps (kilobytes per second), which is about half the speed of the global average of 212.5 kbps according to figures from US networking giant Akamai in early 2010.