Some strange numbers

I have been sitting on this for over a week now. An article in the Economist talking about how China’s youth is surpassing their American rivals online.

The first thing that got me was this quote by Barry Diller:

“THE Chinese people seem to be way ahead of Americans in living a digital life,” said Barry Diller, an American media mogul, last week in a speech to students in Beijing.

You have to take into account the target audience here, but the statement seems a little strange when you consider that the large majority of the Chinese people are farmers living in the countryside.

Admittedly, China has a large population, but these figures also seem off to me:

China’s soaring online population is now estimated at 137m, second only to America’s 165m-210m. According to the “Young Digital Mavens” survey, prepared with JWT, an advertising company, 80% of young Chinese people believe that “digital technology is an essential part of how I live,” compared with 68% of Americans. Twice as many Chinese as Americans (25% to 12%) said they would not feel okay going without internet access for more than a day.

I am curious who they talked to to get to that 80% figure.

Admittedly I am not expert, but everything I read about China’s economic development is that it is concentrated along the coast, whereas the central part of the country is still very much an agrarian society.

There are other figures in the survey which seem off too.

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