February 13, 2017 On 22 January 2017, the Chinese government launched a 100 billion yuan (13.6 billion euros) internet investment fund. The fund is designed to help turn China into a major player in internet technology.
30 billion yuan (4 billion euros) have already been raised from major banks and telecom companies including the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), China Mobile and China Unicom.
The ICBC, together with the China Development Bank and the Agricultural Bank of China, will provide financial services and 150 billion yuan (20 billion euros) of credit to companies that have attracted investment from the fund.
In October 2015, the government also unveiled plans to upgrade Internet infrastructure and logistics in rural areas.
At the end of 2014, China still had 70 million rural dwellers with an annual income of 2,300 yuan (312 euros). As the country plans to lift them out of poverty by 2020, promoting Internet use in rural areas has become important. The government plans to spend 140 billion yuan (19 billion euros) by 2020 to provide at least 50,000 villages with Internet access. By then, approximately 98 percent of the country’s rural areas will have internet access.
According to the China Internet Network Information Center, 731 million people in China had internet access as of 2016 with 695 million of them using mobile devices.