Notwithstanding government clampdowns, China will have the world's biggest online community within two years, almost effortlessly surpassing the US's 210-million users. 


According to reports, this prediction is based on figures that the estimated number of Internet users in China soared by 23% last year to 137-million users.
"We believe it will take two years at most for China to overtake the US," Wang Enhai, from the state-run Chinese Information Centre says.
"We are expecting even faster growth in 2007 and 2008 given that Internet penetration now has exceeded 10.5% in the country."
Estimated broadband users increased to more than 90-million last year, up 41%, while 17-million people access the Internet via mobile phones.
The Chinese government expects the introduction of faster Internet access through the likes of 3G to give an additional boost to the industry.
Wang's estimate, however, could be tempered by the strict censor laws regarding the Internet in China.
To date, hundreds of sites deemed politically sensitive are blocked; thousands of small Internet cafes have been closed in favour of large chains which can better monitor and control online activity for the government; and evidence from postings on websites has been used in the conviction of so-called dissidents.