Netease.com Inc.-owned portal 163.com proved to be the most popular Web site for home Internet users in mainland China last month, according to a survey released by Internet Audience Measurement Asia (Iamasia) last week.
Topping the list with a 50.7 percent reach, or 3,406,000 unique users, 163.com was followed by Sina.com.cn (43.2 percent) and Sohu.com (42.3 percent), Iamasia's NetFocus China August report noted.
Reach, according to Steve Yap, marketing and communications director at Iamasia, is defined as the number of unique users divided by the total number of home Internet users, which is approximately 7 million in the case of mainland China.
Three observations can be drawn from the results of the survey, said Kevin Tan, founder and chief executive officer of Iamasia.
First, local sites have gained an upper hand in the China market, according to Tan, who cited the fact that 79 out of the top 100 sites are based in mainland China. For the remaining 21 sites, seven are in Hong Kong and 14 in the U.S, he added.
Second, horizontal portals have dominated the top spots on the list, Tan said. Apart from 163.com, popular portals include Sina.com.cn, Sohu.com, Yahoo.com, 163.net, China.com and MSN.com.
Finally, there is a high degree of fragmentation among China's Internet audience, Tan observed. According to the survey, the top 20 sites in the mainland China reach only 9.8 percent of home Internet users, whereas in Hong Kong, the figure is 20.9 percent.
The top three sites in Hong Kong, a Special Administrative Region of China, are Yahoo.com. Netvigator.com and Hongkong.com, according to a July report by Iamasia.
On the other hand, according to the quarterly user poll conducted by China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC) in June, for the third consecutive time, Sina.com.cn was named the most popular Web site in mainland China. Sohu.com, 163.com, Yahoo.com and 263.net rounded out the top five sites.
The data collected for the compilation of the Iamasia survey comes from a panel of home users that includes more than 4,000 users in 18 cities, said Tan.
The panel data is weighted and projected to the entire home Internet user population in the urban areas of the country, covering 668 cities, Tan added.