China Internet Museum

Current Position: History>>2003>>Milestones

January 16

China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC) issued the eleventh Statistical Report on Internet Development in China: By December 31, 2002, there were about 20,830,000 computers in total which had access to the Internet in China. There were about 59,100,000 Internet subscribers, 179,000 domain names registered under .CN, and about 371,000 WWW websites. The international bandwidth was 9380M.

March 13

The 15th conference of Asia Pacific Network Information Center (APNIC), an organization responsible for the allocation of IP addresses in Asia Pacific regions, was held in Taipei. Professor Qian Hualin, Chief Engineer at Computer Network Information Center of Chinese Academy of Sciences and Deputy Director of the CNNIC Working Committee, and Professor Ma Yan from Beijing University of Posts were elected as members of APNIC Executive Council. After the election, Chinese members occupied more than half seats (i.e., four out of seven seats) of APNIC Executive Council.

March 17

Registration of second-level domains under the national level domain was officially approved in China, and users might register second-level domains directly under the top level domain .CN. This was a significant change since the domain name system was established in China.

May 10

Interim Provisions on the Administration of Internet Culture issued by the Ministry of Culture, was put in force from July 1, 2003.

June 5

The Ministry of Culture issued Announcement on Examination and Approval of Chain Operation Units That Provide Internet Services Nationwide, and approved 10 units to set up the nationwide chain operation business locations that provide the Internet services.

June 26

Qian Hualin, an expert in computer network and data communication and researcher from Chinese Academy of Sciences, was elected council member of ICANN, with a term of office of three years. This was the first time for a Chinese expert to have entered the management of the top decision-making body for global Internet address and domain name resources.

June 30th

CNNIC, in conjunction with Guangdong Internet Society, released the first National Internet Domain Name Development Report in Guangzhou, which offered details on the total number of domain name registrations, distribution of domain names by type, distribution of domain names by region, registration of service providers, etc.

July 9

The Information Work Leading Group Office of the State Council issued 2002 Survey Report on Quantity of Internet Information Resources in China in Beijing. By December 31, 2002, there were totally 940,300 domain names, 371,600 websites, 157,000,000 web pages and 82,900 online databases in China.

In late July

CNNIC, in conjunction with registration agencies, carried out marketing activities in 9 major cities such as Nanjing, Hangzhou and Suzhou to promote the ".CN"domain name, Chinese domain names and Internet keywords.


Li Hongchen, an online game player, filed a law suit against Beijing Arctic Ice Technology Development Co., Ltd, the operator of the online game Red Moon. This was the first case in China where a game player filed a law suit against a game company due to loss of the virtual equipment. This case had legally aroused the issue of defining the virtual property online.

August 1

2003, the State Council officially approved the launch of the project of China Next Generation Internet (CNGI). CNGI was the commencement project in the implementation of the next-generation Internet development strategy in China. It was in the charge of National Development and Reform Commission, coordinated technically by Chinese Academy of Engineering, and jointly led by National Development and Reform Commission, Ministry of Science and Technology, Ministry of Information Industry, Information Work Leading Group Office of the State Council, Ministry of Education, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Chinese Academy of Engineering and National Natural Science Foundation of China.

August 6

A seminar on Internet keywords and Internet address resources was held in the Reception Building of the Ministry of Information Industry. Experts in Internet, intellectual property, legal, business administration, tax, trademark, economic arbitration and other fields and officials from the Ministry of Information Industry attended the seminar.

August 11

A computer worm virus called WORM_MSBlast.A was transmitted from foreign countries into China, and affected the users in the vast majority of regions in China within just several days. The virus renewed the historical virus record, and became one of the most influential viruses in the history of virus.

September 27

Asia-Pacific Internet Research Alliance (APIRA) was founded in Beijing. This organization was initiated by China Internet Network Information Center, and its first members included Korean Internet Information Center (KRMC), City University of Hong Kong, University of Macau and Taiwan Network Information Center (TWNIC).

October 10

2003 China Internet Media Forum was held in Beijing. China Internet Media Forum has become the highest level professional forum as well as the largest professional forum in China's Internet media industry.

November 18

State Sport General Administration officially approved e-sports to be the 99th official sporting event in China.

November 20

2003, China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC) issued Survey Report on Hot Spots of Internet in China. This survey report covered two parts: short messages of websites and broadband. This was CNNIC or even the State's first time to have issued the survey report on relevant contents. The report showed that the users of short message services of websites used websites to send 10.9 short messages on average every week, and that 70.8% of the broadband users accessed the Internet via ADSL.

December 8

On the morning of December 8,the inaugural meeting of the Internet News Service Committee of Internet Society of China was held at Beijing International Convention Center. The meeting reviewed and passed the Articles of Association of the Internet News Service Committee and elected the chairman of the committee. To promote and strengthen self-regulation within the industry,,,,,, and other over 30 Internet media attending the meeting signed the Internet News Service Self-Regulation Convention.


The National Network and Information Security Alerting Center was established.


Upon approval by the State Council, CNGI was officially launched. CNGI had become the world's largest pure IPv6 network by 2011.


Research Fellow Qian Hualin, Chief Engineer at Computer Network Information Center of Chinese Academy of Sciences and Deputy Director of the CNNIC Working Committee, accepted the invitation extended by Dr. Stuart Lynn, President & CEO of Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN),to serve as a member of IDN Registry Implementation Committee under ICANN on behalf of CNNIC.


At the beginning of January,China Unicom launched "Baoshitong" video phone services.

January 16

SOHU started to build the official Chinese language NBA site under an exclusive agreement. This was the first time that China's Internet companies had joined hands with the world's top sports events.


At the end of January,Shenzhen,Sandai Technology Development Co., Ltd. (abbreviated to "Sandai Technology") was formally incorporated. Thunder 2 was officially released. Sandai Technology was officially renamed to Shenzhen Xunlei Networking Technologies Co., Ltd. (abbreviated to "Xunlei"), i.e., the "Thunder" R&D center and operation center in Greater China, on May 2005.


Google acquired the Blogger's owner, Pyra Labs. Pyra Labs was a leading company in Weblog network services.


Lenovo announced the use of the new logo "Lenovo" to prepare for its entry in overseas markets. Based on the concept of related applications, under the leadership of the Ministry of Information Industry, Lenovo and many other famous companies in China established IGRS working group to promote the development of relevant industrial standards.


SOHU officially announced its entry in the online gaming industry and launched the 3D online game Knight Online on the same day.


Baihe Blog System of Nankai University was put into operation, and the blogging platform of University of Science and Technology of China entered the testing phase; blogging began to develop rapidly in universities and colleges.


Shanda signed a USD 40 million financing agreement with Softbank Asia.


NETEASE and CNNIC joined hands to develop Internet keywords.

April was established in Shanghai.


During the SARS outbreak, the page view doubled and its sales increased by 30%, compared to the previous year. As for B2B websites, the turnover and registrations at also rose substantially. As people tried their best to avoid going out, the sales of the B2C platform reached RMB 12 million and rose over RMB 15 million within the first 20 days in April


When the SARS epidemic was raging. Dangdang continued to operate at full capacity to meet the spiritual needs of readers and was recommended by the Ministry of Culture and other three government departments as excellent websites for online shopping.

April 9

China Netcom Group announced the split of CHINANET between China Netcom Group and China Telecom Group in Beijing, and ceremoniously launched its new service "Broadband in China CHINA169".

April 15

CNNIC joined hands with SOHU, NETEASE, Tencent (QQ), Baidu, Aisimei and other well-known Internet companies issued Internet Positioning Service Resolution Protocol on Keywords in Guangzhou.


Alibaba Group invested RMB 100 million to launch the C2C platform Taobao.


Focus Media was incorporated, and Jiang Nanchun served as Chairman and CEO of Focus Media. Focus Media created China's first outdoor video advertising network and was recognized by consumers and advertisers for its precise audience targeting services and high communication efficiency.


Users of Tianyitong services offered by Shanghai Branch of China Telecom exceeded 10,000, and the company planned to increase the number of users to 30,000 before the end of the year. The operation continued to expand in a systematic manner.


EBay acquired the rest shares of for USD 150 million and become the owner of


Google launched AdSense. This year, rumors that Google was about to be listed began to circulate; analysts estimated the value of Google was USD 25 billion.

In June

Dangdang, SINA, SOHO, Netcom and other companies held the "Spirit of China" event, calling for people to cultivate an open and optimistic attitude. The event received great attention.


The third-party public evaluation held by China Computer Education under CCID Group published the evaluation results. Baidu surpassed Google, becoming the first choice of Chinese Internet users for search engine. According to traffic indicators, Baidu had become the world's largest Chinese language search engine.

June 19

CNNIC released the results of its survey concerning the launch of personal domain names in China and the survey showed that 97% of the surveyed users support the launch of personal domain name registration services.

June 24

In order to promote knowledge and application of IP addresses among Fujian provincial enterprises and institutions, CNNIC, in conjunction with Fujian Internet Society, held a seminar in Fuzhou to discuss issues relating to IP addresses.


NETEASE issued USD 100 million zero-coupon convertible bonds.


The founding team of Tencent repurchased the remaining shares held by IDG, and a small part of shares held by MIH. After the adjustment of the ownership structure before listing, the founding team and MIH each owned a 50% interest in Tencent.

August 6

One of the national key websites was officially launched. It was an important platform to showcase the achievements of China's economic development.

August 8

The first Report on China Internet Development jointly prepared by Internet Society of China and CNNIC was officially published in Beijing. It was the first large-scale and comprehensive literature that reflected the development of China's Internet industry since the introduction of Internet to China in 1994.

August 8

The anti-spam coordination group of Internet Society of China released the first List of Spam Servers which received great attention from the society.


The number of QQ user registrations climbed to 200 million.


TOM announced its collaboration with Baidu. Baidu would provide information retrieval services to TOM.


Baidu launched image search and news search services which consolidated its position in the industry as the largest Chinese language search engine.


NETEASE launched free email services on, including 50M mailbox storage space.

September 9

Tencent announced the launch of its enterprise level real-time communication product RTX at Beijing Kerry Center. Tencent began to enter the market of enterprise level applications as China's first real-time communication service provider.

September 11 under NETEASE was the first among China's three major commercial Internet portals to launch a blog column.


Alibaba launched Alipay, an online payment service to provide third-party guarantee for online shopping. It marked that Alibaba officially moved into the e-payment sector. It also launched the communication software Trademanager, which made real-time communication between buyers and sellers via Internet possible.

October created pay-to-read services and became one of the pioneers in development of profitable Internet literature business models.


Ctrip's operations covered 35 cities in China.

October 8 was founded by Gong Haiyan, who was a second year Master's student in Journalism School of Fudan University at that time.


Baidu launched news and image search services.


SOHU acquired China's largest gaming website and the most influential real estate portal in Beijing, making SOHU the most valuable Chinese-language website.


NETEASE launched self-developed massive online game "Fantasy Westward Journey Online".

November 25

Internal tests of Baidu Post Bar started.


The sales of personal computers reached RMB 70 billion; the sales of downloaded games reached RMB 43 billion; the sales of web games reached RMB 17 billion.


Baidu rolled out region search services, Post Bar and other important features, and search engines began to set foot in online community operations; it also released advanced search, time search and news alert functions around the same time.


Storm Player was officially launched.


Beijing Kingsoft Research Institute was established and Beijing Kingsoft Digital Entertainment Co., Ltd. was incorporated.


HUAWEI and 3Com incorporated a joint venture company to engage in research of enterprise data and networking solutions.

December launched


With the help of Legend of Mir, Shanda developed quickly and the online gaming industry became the most profitable industry. Shanda immediately began to acquire a number of companies, including FLHS, Digital-Red Mobile Software and Hofan, and announced the shift of its development focus to interactive entertainment.


Concurrent users of Tencent QQ online reached 4.92 million.


The Beta version of Tianya Blog was launched. It was the first website that combined BBS public community and personal blogs in China.


The number of pay-to-play online game players doubled, reaching 7,100,000. The total sales of the online gaming market reached RMB 1.32 billion.


Ctrip was listed on NASDAQ and reported the largest one-day rise of a company on this market within the three years since its establishment.


China's online fund trading business kicked off.


International Communication Office of CPC Central Committee issued Document No. 27 to announce its intention to draft Information Security Law.

December 6

From December 6 to December 7,the second China Internet Conference was held in Beijing, with the theme of Perspective Internet towards an E-Era.

December 9

Ctrip was successfully listed on NASDAQ in the United States.

December 15

Tencent released a new instant communication software "Tencent Messenger" (abbreviated to "Tencent TM") designed for the office environment and instant communications between friends.

March 20

Sun Zhigang, a young man from Hubei Province, was detained and beaten to death in Guangzhou. After this incident was first exposed by the local newspaper, the major network media in China intervened actively, and wide attention was drawn from the society. The Internet brought into play its powerful role in media supervision and urged relevant departments to solve this case. On June 20, the State Council issued Administrative Regulations on Helping Tramps and Beggars in Cities, and annulled Regulations on Sheltering and Sending Back Tramps and Beggars in Cities simultaneously. The influence and position of network media increased gradually.

March 31

"Xun Cha" became the board moderator of Beijing BBS.

May 21

The 2003 China SOHU team reached the world's highest peak Mount Everest with an altitude of 8, 848.13 meters and reported the mountaineering expedition by sending MMS throughout the expedition. This was the first time that a MMS live broadcasting had ever been carried out on Mount Everest.