China's Internet Wave

Date of Creation

Summer 2017



Internet use all over the world has been rapidly increasing over the past decade and China is no exception. In 2006, China’s internet penetration rate stood at 10.5% (6.2 percentage points below global average) and by 2016, this number shot up to 53.2% (6.8 percentage points above global average). Using visualizations created using ArcGIS, this project explores the extent to which different provinces in China experience the change brought about by a growth in internet use and its social implications, specifically focusing on China’s rural-urban migration. This project also looks into three case studies of the most significant internet companies that dominate their individual sectors in China, displayed using TimelineJS. The Great Firewall of China refers to the strict regulation of internet use within mainland China by the government, blocking the use of foreign websites such as Google and Facebook within the country. However, this vacuum is quickly filled by domestic companies. Instead of Facebook, the Chinese use WeChat. Instead of Google, there is Baidu. The e-commerce sector is also steadily expanding in size and Alibaba Group’s Alibaba.com, Taobao and Tmall are the center of attention. Though successful in urban cities across China, these companies face several significant difficulties in trying to reach rural and remote villages, including the lack of broadband accessibility and people’s resistance to learning new technology. This project will also explore the various efforts each of these three companies to reach out to rural villages and analyze their effectiveness in doing so.


digital scholarship, china, internet, e-commerce, social media, search engine, rural-urban migration, province, Alibaba, Tencent, Baidu


Final project for the 2017 Digital Scholarship Summer Research Fellows Program at Bertrand Library, Bucknell University


This is the author's version of the work. This publication appears in Bucknell University's institutional repository by permission of the copyright owner for personal use, not for redistribution.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License

Document Type

Digital Project