Un­lim­ited, free In­ter­net con­nec­tions for Shang­hai res­i­dents & trav­el­ers

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE - By YU RAN in Shang­hai yu­ran@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Shang­hai has en­tered a new phase in In­ter­net con­nec­tiv­ity with the city’s up­graded i-Shang­hai Wi-Fi ser­vice as res­i­dents now have ac­cess to free and un­lim­ited wire­less con­nec­tions at 620 public lo­ca­tions across the city, in­clud­ing public trans­porta­tion hubs, com­mer­cial zones, parks, tourist sites, cul­tural venues and ed­u­ca­tion in­sti­tu­tions.

Over the past two months, 170 new i-Shang­hai points were opened to the public to broaden the free Wi-Fi net­work in the city. The i-Shang­hai ser­vice, also known as the city’s of­fi­cial Wi-Fi, is part of a pro­gram launched in 2012 that aims to trans­form Shang­hai into an “in­tel­li­gent city”. The mu­nic­i­pal gov­ern­ment, along with the coun­try’s three ma­jor telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions op­er­a­tors — China Mo­bile, China Uni­com and China Tele­com — are a part of this ini­tia­tive.

Ac­cord­ing to the Shang­hai Com­mis­sion of Econ­omy and In­forma­ti­za­tion, the city will ex­pand its wire­less LAN ser­vices to 4,000 ma­jor public places by the end of 2020, with 450 more due to be avail­able later this year.

The most no­table change in the latest up­grade to i-Shang­hai is the re­moval of the twohour cap for users and a sim­pli­fied log-in process.

“I think it is very easy to get con­nected to the In­ter­net via i-Shang­hai as it re­quires just a few sim­ple ver­i­fi­ca­tion steps. This ser­vice has saved us money in pur­chas­ing more data,” said Wen Xiaoqing, who re­lied on the free ser­vice dur­ing her stay in the hos­pi­tal af­ter she gave birth in March. The 27-year-old added that the up­grade would cre­ate a more In­ter­net-friendly at­mos­phere for lo­cal and tourists.

Pro­vid­ing free wire­less con­nec­tions in public ar­eas has be­come a trend in other parts of China as well. In De­cem­ber 2011, Bei­jing launched free Wi-Fi hotspots where peo­ple can log on to the “My Bei­jing” net­work — all they need to do is to fol­low in­struc­tions via a text mes­sage to con­nect. In the same year, Guangzhou, Guang­dong province, also started to pro­vide Wi-Fi ser­vices in public ar­eas as part of the gov­ern­ment’s plan to en­ve­lope the en­tire city with

res­i­dents In­ter­net con­nec­tiv­ity.

The an­nual re­port on In­ter­net de­vel­op­ment in China, re­leased by the China In­ter­net Net­work In­for­ma­tion Cen­ter in Jan­uary, showed that the num­ber of Chi­nese ac­cess­ing the In­ter­net via mo­bile de­vices had reached a high of 557 mil­lion by the end of 2014, an in­crease of 56.72 mil­lion from the pre­vi­ous year. Mo­bile In­ter­net users ac­counted for 85.8 per­cent (649 mil­lion) of the to­tal num­ber of peo­ple ac­cess­ing the World Wide Web, up from 81 per­cent in 2013.

A ris­ing num­ber of Chi­nese in­vestors from Bei­jing and Shang­hai are buy­ing prop­er­ties in Ja­pan through var­i­ous chan­nels, the China Busi­ness News re­ported. Com­pared with the more so­phis­ti­cated Aus­tralian and Amer­i­can mar­kets, the lower en­try re­quire­ments for in­vest­ment and a promis­ing out­look has made the Ja­panese mar­ket a fa­vorite with wealthy Chi­nese peo­ple.

Chi­nese in­vestors have been driv­ing up the pur­chas­ing in­dex of Ja­panese prop­er­ties by 54 per­cent to 2,086 in the sec­ond quar­ter of this year — the in­dex was merely 100 in the same pe­riod last year, ac­cord­ing to the pur­chas­ing in­tent in­dex from Juwai.com.

China was re­spon­si­ble for nearly a quar­ter of the global ice cream con­sump­tion in 2014, sur­pass­ing the US to be­come the world’s largest ice cream mar­ket, a re­port by United King­dom-based re­search firm Min­tel Group Ltd showed.

Chi­nese con­sumers bought $11.4 bil­lion worth of ice cream in the year of 2014, while their US coun­ter­parts con­sumed $11.2 bil­lion. But the Amer­i­cans are still the world’s big­gest fans of ice cream as their per capita con­sump­tion is more than four times that of China’s. The Chi­nese ice cream con­sump­tion is ex­pected to ex­pand to $12.5 bil­lion this year. One of the rea­sons for China’s grow­ing ice cream de­mand is the in­crease in peo­ple’s in­come, es­pe­cially in the fast-ex­pand­ing mid­dle in­come group, added the re­port.

GAO ERQIANG / CHINA DAILY

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