China’s average internet speed jumped 33 percent in 2013, but it’s still pretty slow


Shanghai China Pudong

Internet speeds in China have historically remained sluggish, though the country has been making steady strides in improving online connectivity. According to a report from China Cache, in which the organization analyzed data speeds across its 15,000 servers in China, the national average internet speed (excluding Hong Kong) for Q4 2013 reached 3.45Mb/s, up 33.2 percent from the previous year.

Region by region, Shanghai sits at the top of the with an average connection speed of 5.40Mb/s, followed by Beijing at 4.17Mb/s and Fujian Province at 3.93Mb/s.

china internet province

All boats rised when regions were analyzed in broader groups. China’s eastern provinces, where most of the country’s developed cities are located, enjoyed internet speeds at a new average of 3.79 Mb/s, slightly above central China at 3.37 Mb/s and western China at 3.18 Mb/s. From Q1 to Q4 in 2013, however, all three regions saw average quarterly speeds jump an aggregate of over 11 percent.

eastwestsouth internet speeds corrected

Finally, when speeds were analyzed by carrier, China Telecom turned out to be the fastest provider of broadband, but none of the three firms came close to breaking 4.0 Mb/s on average.

china carrier speeds

What’s the significance here? China’s State council has set ambitious goals for China’s internet speeds. It’s stated publicly that it aims to wire all major cities with connection speeds of over 20Mb/s, and equip rural areas with connection speeds of over 4.0Mb/s, all by 2015.

That would require the nation’s most rural areas – which, according to China Cache’s report, tend to have speeds clocking in around 2.5 Mb/s – to race up to Beijing’s current average speed within the next 10 months. Beijing and Shanghai, meanwhile, will require trampoline-enhanced boosts in order to reach 20 Mb/s before year’s end.

In comparison to global averages, China Cache’s data seems to indicate that China’s internet speeds are catching up – Akami published a study recently pinpointing the average speed internationally at 3.6 Mp/s as of Q3 2013 – not too distant from China’s 3.45 Mp/s as of Q4 2013 (though for what it’s worth, that same study pegged China’s average speed at 2.9 Mp/s). In the same, when compared to its Asian peers, China’s lagging behind the lightning speeds in Japan and Korea, and sits roughly alongside Vietnam, Malaysia, and Thailand.

(Top image via Flickr user travelourplanet; editing by Paul Bischoff)

(And yes, we're serious about ethics and transparency. More information here.)

Read More