China's online population overtakes US

China's fast growing population of internet users has surpassed the US to become the world's biggest, with 253 million people online at the end of June, China Internet Network Information Center said.

An Associated Press report further quoted the CNNIC as saying that the latest figure on internet users is a 56% increase from a year ago.

The financial size of China's online market, though, still trails those of the US, South Korea and other countries, the report said.

'This is the first time the number has drastically surpassed the US, becoming the world's No. 1,' a CNNIC statement said.

The US had an estimated 223.1 million internet users in June, according to Nielsen Online, a research firm.

China's internet penetration is still low at just 19.1%, leaving more room for rapid growth, according to CNNIC. The Pew internet and American Life Project places US online penetration at 71%.