Although there are over 700 million Chinese people classified as living in rural areas, only about 125 million of them use the Internet. That’s a penetration rate of 18.5%*, far below the urban Chinese rate of 50%. These users are usually the last ones on the minds of International companies that are setting up shop in China’s first and second tier cities. However, when it comes to Internet marketing, rural Chinese Internet users are a rising force.
There are several things that have held back online shopping in rural China. First, credit cards are still not as popular in those areas. Second, rural Chinese people don’t yet have much trust in online shopping in general. Finally, delivery to rural areas is a still a problem. These barriers are quickly eroding though, and that’s obvious in the figures above, which show about a 30% increase in online shopping, online banking and online payments in rural China as well as a 27% increase in search engine usage