The story

China surpassed the United States in 2008 as the world's top user of the Internet, according to a government-backed research group.

The number of Web surfers in the country grew by nearly 42 percent to 298 million, according to the China Internet Network Information Center's January report. And there's plenty of room for growth, as only about 1 in every 4 Chinese has Internet access.

The rapid growth in China's Internet use can be tied to its swift economic gains and the government's push for the construction of telephone and broadband lines in the country's vast rural areas, the report says. Read full article »

CNN's Yuli Yang contributed to this report.

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