Ren Xin reads news almost every day but does not subscribe to any newspaper.
The 25-year-old office worker gets her information fix from the Internet. "I
also watch TV for news. Sometimes, I buy a newspaper or a magazine in the
subway, but that is rare," she says.
A man reads the latest news on his laptop in
this undated photo. [China Business
Information-thirsty Ren is one of a rising number of Chinese youth who are
increasingly shying away from traditional media, especially the print
"Subscribing to a newspaper? Wow, that is my Dad's job," she says, breaking
The rapid switch from print publications to online news offerings is a
worldwide trend, but in China which has more than 100 million Internet users it
According to a survey by the quasi-government China Information Network
Centre (CNNIC) at the end of last year, 67.9 per cent of Chinese Internet users
listed news as the most-used Web service.
During the just-concluded World Cup, Ren, a football fan, watched live
broadcasts on TV and went online to get additional information about the
quadrennial sporting fest.
According to Nielsen Netratings, more than 40 million people visited a World
Cup section during the tournament on Sina Corp, the largest Chinese Web portal.
Ren was also a frequent visitor. "I could find almost everything I needed in
the section. Besides, I could write a comment to express my joy or vent my
anger," she says.
The increasing move towards online news offerings underlines how new media,
largely led by the Internet, is taking a toll on traditional media.
Ironically, the vast majority of news offerings on the Internet are from
traditional newspapers and magazines. Under current regulations, commercial
websites in China are prohibited from reporting news. Technology and sports
reporting is an exception though there is no formal approval.
As a comprehensive platform for timely news offerings with text, hyperlinks,
pictures and even video clips, Internet companies such as Sina are not only
grabbing readers and audiences, but also snatching ads from traditional
For instance, a World Cup section of another leading
Chinese Internet portal, Sohu.com, generated about 40 million yuan (US$5
million) during the event. The section also provided copyrighted streaming video
clips of the event.