BEIJING - More than 130,000 Internet cafes operating without the proper licenses were closed over the past six years as part of the Chinese government's long-term efforts to regulate the market, as recently reported.
According to the "2010 China Internet Cafe Market Report," which was released on Thursday by the Ministry of Culture, nearly 7,000 cyber shops were suspended just in 2010. Also, 391,000 yuan ($60,000) from illegal Internet cafes were confiscated.
"In 2011, the country's Internet cafe market will continue to experience hardships in industrial upgrading and structural adjustments. The government will continue to regulate the order of the market by promoting large Internet cafe chains," said an unnamed ministry official on Thursday.
The report shows that the number of cyber cafe customers reached 163 million at the end of 2010, which saw a 21.1 percent increase. However, the market shrunk by 12.96 percent to 77.12 billion yuan last year due to small profits and structural adjustments.
According to the official, the ministry will this year focus its supervision on rural areas and intensify punishment for Internet cafes that break laws, such as the rule on accepting minors.