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Support for Windows XP is over, but China still has 200 million PCs using it

Windows XP usage in China, in 2014

Microsoft has ended support for Windows XP, its venerable operating system – launched 12 years ago – that is still being used by a lot of people. Statistics from Net Applications say that a quarter of global Windows users are still on XP.

It’s a particular issue in China.

For a sense of the scale of China’s addiction to XP, check out statistics relating to usage of Internet Explorer 6 (IE6), the default web browser that shipped with Windows XP. Looking at Microsoft’s own IE6 Countdown page, the figures – also courtesy of Net Applications – reveal that 4.4 percent of the world’s web users are still using IE6. 3.4 percent of those are in China. That means China accounts for 77 percent of all IE6 users right now. That’s 12 and a half years after it was first released, and six years after it was last updated.

Support for Windows XP is over, but China still has 77% of world's IE6 users

You’ll notice that China is the only country that’s still using IE6 in great numbers. Other laggards like Taiwan and India are in low single digits, in contrast to China’s figure. Yes, a staggering 22 percent of the world’s web browsing is made up of mainland China rocking IE6:

Support for Windows XP is over, but China still has 77% of world's IE6 users

Since XP users can update their default browser up to IE8, China inevitably has even more XP users than its IE6 usage indicates. Indeed, state news agency Xinhua estimates that about 200 million computers, or 70 percent of the country’s PCs, are on Windows XP right now. However, StatCounter has a more conservative figure, indicating that nearly 50 percent of all China’s laptops and PCs are using XP.

(See: No Chrome, no Firefox: why Chinese online banking still requires Internet Explorer)

Microsoft has enlisted Chinese web giant Tencent (HKG:0700) and a few other local partners to provide security assistance for XP users after yesterday’s April 8 cut-off. But that doesn’t equate to full software support.

It’s time for 200 million machines in China to be updated to either Windows 7 or Windows 8. Or, as is Microsoft’s worst nightmare, many might opt out of the PC era and buy an Android tablet or iPad instead.

Editing by Paul Bischoff

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