On Sept 14, 1987, China’s first e-mail was sent from the Institute of Computer Application Technology in Beijing and reached the Karlsruher Institut für Technologie in Germany a week later, which marked the beginning of China’s use of the Internet.
On Nov 28, 1990, China officially registered the top-level domain name “CN”, giving China’s network its own identity label, and opened international e-mail services with this domain name.
On Apr 20, 1994, China opened a 64K International Private Leased Circuit (IPLC) for the first time and became the 77th country to access all the functions of the Internet.
In January 1995, the former Directorate General of Telecommunications of the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications opened 64K IPLCs in Beijing and Shanghai, offering society access to the Internet.
In May 1995, China's first Internet access service provider, InfoHighWay Information and Communication Company, was founded.
In November 1996, China’s first Internet cafe “Shihuakai Internet cafe” was opened in Beijing.
In 1997, the Internet became a daily necessity for numerous households and began to make great progress. 1997 is regarded as the first year of China's Internet.
In November 1997, China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC) published the first Statistical Report on Internet Development in China. Forty-three reports have been released as of June, 2019.
In March 1998, the first session of the ninth National People’s Congress (NPC) approved the establishment of the Ministry of Information Industry, which took over supervision of the electronic information manufacturing industry, communication industry and software industry, and promoted the informatization of the national economy and social services.
Around 1998, a batch of pioneering Internet companies, including NetEase, Sohu, Tencent, Sina and Baidu, sprang up and altered China’s Internet development trend. Their products such as Tencent QQ (an instant messaging service), the Baidu search engine and NetEase mailbox are still popular today.
In January 1999, a boom in government website construction was promoted by the Chinese government's launch of the “Government Online Project”.
From April to July 2000, China's three major web portals, Sina, NetEase and Sohu, were listed on NASDAQ.
On May 17, 2000, China Mobile Network (CMNET) was put into operation. And China Mobile officially launched the GSM Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) service on the same day.
In May 2001, the Internet Society of China was established. In December, China's top ten major Internet providers signed an interconnection agreement, making it easier for Internet users to conduct cross-regional visits.
On Oct 18, 2003, Taobao wheeled out Alipay service for the first time. Alipay became an independent company in 2004 and gradually bloomed into China’s largest third-party payment platform. Currently, it has over one billion users around the globe.
In November 2003, the General Administration of Sport of China approved e-sports as its 99th sporting event.
In March 2004, the number of Chinese Internet companies listed abroad surged, the second boom since 2000.
In August 2005, Baidu was listed on NASDAQ, setting the biggest daily gain by a newcomer to the market in five years since the Internet bubble in 2000. The number of bloggers reached 16 million, and the Internet’s role transformed from commercialization to socialization.
In January 2006, the Chinese government portal was officially launched. At the end of the year, the virus worm whboy.cw broke out and millions of computers were infected and destroyed.
In June 2007, the Eleventh Five-Year Plan on E-Commerce Development was released, stating that the nation should vigorously develop e-commerce at the State level.
In March 2008, the competent authority of the Internet industry, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, was established. As of June 30, the number of Chinese netizens reached 253 million, ranking first in the world for the first time. And “CN” became the world’s largest national top-level domain name with total registered users numbered at 12.19 million.
In January 2009, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology issued 3G licenses to China Mobile, China Telecom and China Unicom. In the second half of the year, major portals began to access or test Weibo functions.
In January 2010, the executive meeting of the State Council decided to accelerate the integration of telecommunications networks, radio and television networks and the Internet.
On Jan 21, 2011, Tencent launched WeChat, an easy-to-use instant messaging service app for smart phones. Users can engage in real-time communications via free text and multimedia messages, making video calls or sharing photos on their “Moments”.
In May 2011, the Office of the Central Cyberspace Affairs Commission was established. In the same month, the People's Bank of China issued the first batch of third-party payment licenses. Since 2011, smart phones have become popular in China. The comprehensive deployment of WiFi and 3G enables more and more netizens to access the Internet through mobile phones.
On Jan 18, 2012, the Time Division Long Term Evolution (TD-LTE) proposed by Datang Telecom Technology & Industry Group, was identified by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) as one of the 4G (4th Generation Mobile Communication) international standards.
In December 2012, the Decision on Strengthening Network Information Protection was passed. The decision proposed to protect personal electronic information, prevent junk electronic information, and establish a network identity management system.
In June 2013, Alibaba Group launched the Yu'E Bao business, and since then China's Internet finance has flourished. The number of mobile netizens surpassed PC netizens for the first time, and the development of mobile Internet began to rise.
In February 2014, the Central Leading Group for Cyberspace Affairs was established.
In March 2015, “Internet Plus” was written into the government work report and it became a major initiative at the national level.
On Dec 10, 2018, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology allocated specific low and medium-frequency bands to China’s major three telecom carriers, China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom, as a key step in speeding up the rollout of fifth-generation communication networks and further testing new digital applications.