China Internet Museum

Current Position: History>>1999>>Milestones


China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC) released the third Statistical Report on Internet Development in China. Up to December 31, 1998, there were 747,000 computers connected to Internet in China, 2.1 million Internet users, 18,396 domain names registered under .CN, around 5,300 WWW websites and 143M256K international export bandwidth.


CLRNET adjusted down the shared communication operation charge again. International flow per KB was reduced to RMB0.005 and CLRNET backbone network was upgraded to the speed of over 2M.


The satellite backbone network of CERNET was thoroughly launched, considerably increasing the operation speed of the network.


CSTNET launched two sets of satellite systems to completely replace IP/X.25 and used satellite channels to connect with more than 40 cities nationwide.

January 22

China Telecom and Economic Information Center of State Economic and Trade Commission took the lead and joined hands with information authorities of over 40 ministries (divisions and bureaus) to hold Government Online Project Kick-off Meeting in Beijing, advocating launching Government Online Project. Main website of the Project was launched for trial run.


The 2nd Working Conference for Building of CEKNET Regional Network Main Nodes was held in Beijing.


Ministry of Information Industry decided to restructure China Telecom and former China Telecom was split to China Telecom, China Mobile and China Satcom Group. Paging serive was included into China Unicom.


China National Information Technology Security Evaluation Center (CNISTEC) was officially put into service.

February 11

At the Office Meeting of the Premier of the State Council, China High-speed Internet Demonstration Project proposed by Chinese Academy of Sciences, State Administration of Radio Film and Television, Ministry of Railways and Shanghai Municipal Government was approved. The project later developed into China Netcom.

February 3

Business Electronic Information Security Certification System, a 9th "Five-year" national key technology project undertaken by China International Electronic Commerce Center, passed the technological achievement appraisal of Ministry of Science and Technology and State Cryptography Administration and obtained the sales permit for information security products granted by related authorities. This became China's first independently developed e-commerce CA security certification system with absolutely independent copyright and was successfully applied to Chinese textile quota license management system.


CERNET Backbone Network Upgrade Project was basically completed. Satellite lines required by the project were fully launched, covering 18 provincial capital cities including Lhasa in Tibet.

April 15

23 influential Chinese network media agencies gathered for the first time to discuss the development of China's network media. They passed the Network Media Convention in the News Circle of China in principle, advocating attention to and protection of online information property rights by the entire society.

At the end of April

According to the China Telecom Restructuring Plan approved by the State Council, division of mobile communication work was initiated.


CERNET was officially connected to 6REN network where the international community offered IPv6 academic service.


China's first security emergency response organization, i.e., CERNET Computer Emergency Response Team (CCERT), was set up at the Network Engineering Research Center, Tsinghua University.


The National Seminar on Education Informatization organized by the Ministry of Education was held in Beijing.


155M high-speed communication lines were launched in the Beijing regional network of CERNET.


The State Council released the Decision Concerning Deepening the Education Reform and Comprehensively Promoting the Education for All-around Development.

June 30

Number of domestic Internet users exceeded 4 million. However, compared to more than 100 ISPs in China, the number was too small to exert any scale effect. Chinese ISPS were all suffering loss due to lack of users.


CERNET Administration Committee held a press conference, announcing to adjust down CERNET shared communication operation charge again as of July 1. International flow per KB was reduced to RMB0.0025.


During student recruitment by Chinese higher education institutions, over 200 institutions in six provinces and cities used National Higher Education Institution Recruitment System to recruit students online via CERNET for the first time and ended in success.


China set up its first information security team.


The 21st Century-oriented Education Rejuvenation Action Plan – Modern Distance Education Project: CERNET High-speed Backbone Network Buildig Feasibility Report passed expert panel discussion.


CERNET Network Emergency Response Team started to officially render services. The network address was


CERNET officially joined the Asia-Pacific Advanced Network (APAN).


155M high-speed communication experimental lines from Beijing to Guangzhou and from Beijing to Wuhan were launched.

September 6

International E-commerce Application Expo of China was held in Beijing. Sponsored by Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation and Ministry of Information Industry, the Expo was the first e-commerce application expo organized by Chinese government and also a large-sized reporting meeting on achievements in e-commerce technology and application promoted by China for the first time.


China Netcom that was named the "Third Telecom" by media was incorporated and the new pattern of the telecommunication industry was basically formed.


State Administration of Radio Film and Television issued the Notice on Strengthening Administration over Programs that Transmit Radio, Film and Television through Information Network to the Public.

October 16

The central government released the first guideline document on network news publicity.

During November 2-6

The 6th CERNET Academic Annual Meeting was held in Guangzhou. More than 500 representatives from nearly 300 higher education institutions nationwide attended the meeting.

November 2

Chen Yin, Deputy Director of Telecommunication Regulation Bureau under Ministry of Information Industry attended ICANN Government Advisory Committee Meeting on behalf of China.


Over 550 education and research institutes were already connected to CERNET and they were distributed in 80 cities in mainland China, including all the provincial capitals. Number of Internet users reached 2 million.

December 2

Ministry of Education officially approved the 21st Century-oriented Education Rejuvenation Action Plan – Modern Distance Education Project: CERNET High-speed Backbone Network Buildig Feasibility Report.

December 18

CERNET 5th Anniversary Report Meeting and Advanced Network Technology Seminar was held in Beijing. Theme of the meeting was "national prosperity depending on education, network development influencing the future".

December 23

The National Informatization Leading Group was set up, headed by Vice Premier Wu Bangguo of the State Council. The National Informatization Office was renamed as the National Informatization Promotion Office.


Jiangmin New Science & Technology Co., Ltd developed the real-time virus monitoring firewall and added the function of monitoring compressed files such as ZIP, ARJ and RAR.


Based on his working and living experience in the Silicon Valley, Li Yanhong published the book Silicon Valley Business Warfare in mainland China.


NetEase website was commented by Popular Computer Week to be at the top of "Most Popular Websites in China".

January secured USD300,000 advertising from IBM. This was the largest single network advertising order back then. It indicated that Chinese network advertising market had started to mature and that Chinese Internet enterprises could support themselves through the mode of network advertising and make sizeable profit.


China's largest software chain organization Federal Software set up E-commerce Department and Wang Juntao, President of Fuzhou Federal, acted as General Manager. He started the experiment with e-commerce since then and also started with layout arrangement in front of international capital.

January 28 hired former Vice President Mao Daolin of Walden International to join Stone Richsight and act as Chief operating officer (COO) of

February announced that it secured USD25 million foreign venture capital from investors including Goldman Sachs. This was the largest single investment for domestic network companies at that time.

February 10

Tencent launched Tencent Instant Messenger and released the first beta version software QQ99b0210, Tencent QQ for short. It was interconnected with wireless paging, GSH short messages and IP telephone network.


Jack Ma resigned from his office job and returned to Hangzhou with his team. They started a new round of business start-up with RMB500,000 and focused on developing Alibaba website.

March developed into a comprehensive network portal on the basis of classified search, launched rich feature channels and provided multiple network services.

March hired former Senior Vice President Sha Zhengzhi of Netscape to join as Co-CEO. Shortly afterwards, Sha Zhengzhi became CEO.

March 25

Phoenix Satellite Television anchorperson Wu Xiaoli visited as a guest, creating the mode of chatting with celebrity guests online.

March 26 launched the "Feature on Kosovo Crisis" by combining news report methods of traditional media with network that was featured by fastness and interaction. The report attracted a large number of netizens instantly.


Tencent and Shenzhen Mobile Unicom Co., Ltd cooperated to launch the cell-phone e-mail service. Users could send and receive e-mails via cell-phone and cell-phone users could send and receive short messages with Internet users.

April launched the new version, realizing comprehensive integration of mainland China, Taiwan and North America.

In the mid April

Doubleclick ( sent a delegation to Beijing to discuss cooperation with Mindshare, and Doubleclick's entry into Chinese market indicated that Chinese network resources had already attracted attention of the international community. The cooperation this time promoted popularity of Chinese Internet enterprises in the world and laid a solid foundation for them to enter foreign advertising and capital market.

May 8 was the first in China to run coverage on "NATO bombs hit Chinese embassy in Yugoslavia", which was wildly followed by netizens. Number of visits surged more than four times instantly.


Alibaba registered Alibaba Group in Cayman Islands and the company officially started to operate.


Shen Nanpeng, Liang Jianzhang, Ji Qi and Fan Min founded Ctrip.


Tencent and Shenzhen Longmai Co., Ltd cooperated to launch an e-mail value added service system, which was put into operation at Shenzhen Telecom.


Ultima Online popular simulation server appeared. A large number of simulation servers emerged in Shenzhen, Beijing and Shanghai. Since then, domestic players started to substantially contact true graphic online games.


NetEase launched online auction service for the first time in China.

July took the lead to develop China's first product database with independent intellectual property rights.

July 12

China's first dot-com concept stock,, went public at NASDAQ. On the same day, the price per share surged from USD20 to USD67.

July 12 was traded at NASDAQ. This was the first Chinese concept dot-com stock that went public at NASDAQ.


Lenovo invested heavily to enter the field of information security and set up Information Security Lab at Lenovo Corporate Research & Development.


Asia' first full three-dimensional instant online strategic game Honor & Freedom developed by ARCHOSAUR was officially released, drawing open the curtain for console game to transform to online game.

August 20, one of the globally leading female literature digital copyright operators and the top brand in Chinese female reading, was set up.


Yahoo launched its portal search website in China, Yahoo China.


Alibaba (China) Network Technology Co., Ltd ( was incorporated in Hangzhou. Hong Kong and Hangzhou were locations of Headquarter of and Headquarter of China Region respectively.

September 26

China Merchants Bank was the first in China to launch "All in One Net" online banking service and established an online banking service system focused on online corporate banking, online personal banking, online payment, online securities and online shopping mall. With the approval of the People's Bank of China, it took the lead to launch online personal banking business, becoming China's first commercial bank that realized "online banking" interconnected across the country.


Alibaba signed Softbank Investment Agreements with Goldman Sachs, Transpac Capital, Technology Development Fund under Singapore government, Sweden-based INVESTORAB and US-based Fidelity, introducing the first round of USD5 million venture capital.

October was launched and introduced the first round of investment from IDG.


The number of registered QQ users exceeded one million.

November successfully introduced venture capital and incorporated ChinaByte Technology Co., Ltd.


Chen Tianqiao founded Shanda Internet Development Co., Ltd and served as Executive Director and General Manager. He launched graphic online virtual community game Online Silicon Valley.


Li Guoqing established China's first online book store

December invested RMB4 million to acquire 16 out of top 20 personal websites in the NetEase personal website ranking list.


Li Yanhong returned to China to found Baidu. After years of efforts, Baidu has developed into the most frequently used Chinese website by Chinese, the world's largest Chinese search engine and also the world's largest Chinese website.


The first C2C e-commerce platform EachNet and the first B2C e-commerce platform 8848 were founded one after another, breaking the ground of e-commerce in China.


China Telecom's broadband service based on ADSL technology was officially commercialized and China's Internet entered the age of broadband access.

January 1

Chinese netizens concluded the first Internet strike. The strike was launched by Huang Zhenqiang, a student of Economic Department, Nanjing University. Reason of the strike was that average netizens were dissatisfied with the excessively high phone bill and Internet surfing charge that was up to RMB250-350 per month, which made Internet surfing a "noble sport".

March 1 was born. Various columns were launched such as stocks, free talk, computer technology, romance, literature etc. On March 30, all the columns activated a message board and some functions including flooding, travel and picture upload.

May 8

Chinese Embassy in former Yugoslavia was bombed, triggering intense response among netizens. On May 9, during the Kosovo War, NATO claimed the bombing was accidental. This resulted in the movement of Chinese hackers, which was called the "second homeland defense online" in history.

June 19

On the evening of June 19, the Protest Forum was revised to and netizens uploaded over 90,000 posts in total.


Lee Teng-hui cast the "Two States" Theory, regardless of national benefits and people's feelings. This aroused movement of Chinese hackers, which was called the "third homeland defense online" in history.


Prof. Wu Jianping of Tsinghua University was elected as the member of Address Committee of Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) Address Supporting Organization (ASO).

December 10

The first Miss China of Internet was born.