The biannual China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC) report covering the first half of 2008 has been released (in Chinese) and is now available. The Ogilvy China Digital Watch website has provided an excellent job of capturing the main points in English. The most salient point of the report is that China now has 253 million Internet users, pushing China into first place worldwide, surpassing the US.
The CNNIC is the main official source of information for the state of the Internet in China, and is the most frequently quoted report on China Internet statistics. For more detailed information, especially ecommerce numbers, etc., there are a number of market research firms in China which provide services, including custom reports for paying clients.
I would like see some changes and improvement to the CNNIC report. Here are some of them:
- Outline the methodology used. Explain how the data is collected and by what authorities. Also explain how the audience is chosen. Make the whole process transparent as possible.
- Show the questionnaire used, and let people provide feedback about what questions are used so that they can be improved in future versions of the report.
- Use the same questionnaire nationwide so that there is a level basis for comparison.
- Current data is weighed too much towards national and tier one cities in China. This information is too broad and not granular enough. Break out the information by province.
- Provide the names of the government officials who collect the data on the national, municipal and provincial levels along with their email contact information so that we know who is responsible for collecting what data on what level.
- Provide a forum so that these same people can answer questions about the CNNIC report and reply to suggestions. Engage the audience in a continuous dialogue to improve the CNNIC report.
- Keep the primary data in a data warehouse, and consider making it accessible to researchers so that they can write their own queries and generate reports for a one-time fee or on a long-term basis for a subscription fee.