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Gates: China set to become biggest user of broadband worldwide
[January 27, 2006]

Gates: China set to become biggest user of broadband worldwide

The Associated Press

China is set to become the biggest user of broadband in the world, Bill Gates said Friday.

"No one will catch up (except) maybe India in 50 years," the chairman and co-founder of Microsoft Corp. said at the World Economic Forum's annual meeting.

He said that despite the disparity between China's urban and rural areas, the country was on track toward reducing poverty, meaning more people would be able to afford broadband Internet access.

"The greatest surprise in poverty reduction ... is China," Gates said.

China's Internet population, already the world's second largest after the United States, rose to 111 million in 2005, according to the official China Internet Network Information Center.

Earlier this month, the agency said the number of people with broadband Internet access rose by more than 50 percent compared with 2004, to 64 million.

China encourages Internet use for education and business but tries to block its use to spread opposition to communist rule. The government blocks access to foreign Web sites deemed subversive or pornographic and has arrested dozens of people in a crackdown on sexually oriented online material.

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