After emerging as the top destination for manufacturing in China, the southern city of Shenzhen may also have risen to become the leader in Internet and microblogging penetration, according to a new report.

The Nanfang called attention to the figures in the Shenzhen Internet Development Research Report. While it’s entirely possible the numbers are skewed in favor of Shenzhen, the area’s special economic status does give it advantages over larger, more internationally recognized cities like Beijing and Shanghai.

The research suggests that Shenzhen has a reached 76.8 percent Internet penetration, allegedly putting it almost on par with Japan, the world’s top market in terms of online adoption. By comparison, Beijing and Shanghai had 70.3 percent and 66.2 percent Internet penetration, respectively.

China Internet Watch noted that weibo (microblogging) adoption in Shenzhen leads the national average by 10 points at 58.6 percent. Users from the city are also believed to be more active, with many of them spending more than 2 hours a day on microblogging services. Interestingly, Shenzhen Internet users did score lower than their peers in other cities in the online literature and gaming categories.

Mobile Internet users were estimated to represent 72.6 percent of Shenzhen’s online population, more than three percent above the national average.

Shenzhen has experienced breakneck development in recent decades, especially with the help of Foxconn and other manufacturers. Though many companies have begun moving their production lines farther inland to cities like Chengdu, Shenzhen still remains one of the top destinations for the manufacturing industry.

The city isn’t all just factories, though. China’s largest Internet company, Tencent, is headquartered in Shenzhen. Also, Apple recently gave Shenzhen consumers a vote of confidence by opening one of its few mainland retail stores there.

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