Millions of young Chinese are embracing the Internet as a discreet space for their thoughts and emotions, according to a survey of Chinese and American youth by and JWT, the fourth largest advertising agency network in the world, and IAC, which operates businesses in sectors being transformed by the Internet.
The findings show how readily young Chinese are taking to the Internet and its possibilities—for example, almost five times as many Chinese as American respondents said they have a parallel life online (61 per cent vs. 13 per cent).
And while fewer than half of the 1,079 American respondents agreed that “I live some of my life online” (42 per cent), a sizable majority of the 1,104 Chinese respondents agreed with the statement (86 per cent). The two random online surveys polled 16- to 25-year-olds.
The “Young Digital Mavens” study aimed to explore how attitudes toward digital technology are changing among Chinese and American youth at a time when people are spending less time with traditional media and more with interactive technology.
China’s ballooning online population, estimated at 137 million, is now second only to that of the U.S. (165-210 million Americans, according to a July 2007 report from the Pew Internet & American Life Project).
The study found that while a large majority of youth in both countries now feel dependent on digital technology, this attitude is especially pronounced in China. As many as 80 percent of Chinese respondents agreed that “Digital technology is an essential part of how I live,” compared with 68 percent of Americans.
The Internet is such a vital part of life for Chinese youth that they are twice as likely as young Americans to say they would not feel OK going without Internet access for more than a day (25 percent vs. 12 per cent). And more than twice as many Chinese youth admitted they sometimes feel “addicted” to living online: 42 per cent vs. 18 per cent of Americans.
IAC Chairman and CEO Barry Diller said, “The Chinese people seem to be way ahead of Americans in living a digital life.
“More activity online means a more connected and a more evolved workforce – just what China needs as it makes its move from being the workshop of the world, to a developed economy in its own right.”
He added, “Like many other areas in comparing Americans to the energy and progress elsewhere in the world, China's speedy evolution in its use of the internet is fast eclipsing that of the US."
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