Do Chinese Internet users care about news? Tracking news consumers on the Internet in a metropolis 2009-2011

Research output: Journal Publications and ReviewsRGC 21 - Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)60-79
Journal / PublicationChinese Journal of Communication
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2014


This study aims to explore the patterns and trends of Internet news use in a Chinese metropolis, Shanghai. By analyzing news webpage browsing data from three selected months in 2009, 2010, and 2011, we seek to present some evidence other than self-report data, which were widely used in past research but subject to the influence of memory limitation and social desirability. Our findings are: First, Internet users in Shanghai paid more attention to soft news, and finance and economy news, than to social and political news both in terms of visit times and visit duration. Second, news page visits and the amount of time people spent on reading news online suggest clear monotonic growth across all categories of news content over a three-year period. Third, despite the growing amount of visits and time used for online news, the proportion of visits and time devoted to news viewing to total webpage visits and time spent online decreased significantly. However, "social and political news" and "finance and economy news" did not experience any decline. Finally, existing gaps were identified between different demographic groups in terms of news reading frequency online, but no clear trends were identified concerning how the gaps developed over time. © 2013 The Centre for Chinese Media and Comparative Communication Research, The Chinese University of Hong Kong.

Research Area(s)

  • China, civic culture, Internet news use, user tracking data