China’s online population reaches 420 million

China’s online population, the world’s largest, has reached 420 million as more people access the Internet with cell phones.

The number of Internet users grew by 36 million in the first six months this year, said the government-sanctioned China Internet Network Information Center on Thursday. China’s population is more than 1.3 billion.

Spurring the growth was mobile Web use, stemming from popular services that support video and other Web products. About 277 million people get online with their phones, the report said.

The Internet’s popularity poses challenges to the Communist government, which is used to exercising tight control over information. Beijing runs an extensive system of Web monitoring and censorship to block information deemed subversive.

Associated Press