Skip to navigationSkip to content

China’s internet sector is already huge, but it’s about to get gargantuan

  • Adam Pasick
By Adam Pasick

Senior Editor

Published This article is more than 2 years old.

The forthcoming IPO of Alibaba is expected to be the world’s biggest stock offering this year, thanks to its dominance in China’s giant e-commerce sector. In fact, nearly everything about the Chinese internet sector is super-sized: It has a staggering 632 million internet users, compared with a mere 277 million in the United States. Last year the number of smartphones and tablets sold in China nearly doubled, from 380 million to 700 million. And according to a new study by consulting firm McKinsey, the really impressive growth is yet to come.

Only 46% of Chinese are online (compared with 87% of Americans), and an even smaller share of businesses use the web. McKinsey argues that China’s largely consumer-focused internet is about to catch on with with businesses, boosting productivity and creating enough new products to add up to 14 trillion yuan ($2.25 trillion) to Chinese GDP by 2025.

Here are a few highlights from McKinsey’s research:

Here’s where China stands today, compared with the US:

no-caption

China’s Internet economy is already huge:

no-caption

Banking and health care are poised to reap the biggest benefits from going online:

no-caption

The internet will have a big impact on China’s productivity, which is very low:

no-caption

Any jobs lost to the internet will be more than offset by gains:

no-caption

📬 Kick off each morning with coffee and the Daily Brief (BYO coffee).

By providing your email, you agree to the Quartz Privacy Policy.