The web seems to have taken China’s biggest city Shanghai by storm as the number of Internet surfers hit the 50,000 mark in just over five months, internet service providers said. Government figures show that at the end of last year the People’s Republic had in total only 100,000 registered internet users. Shanghai Information Industrial Co Ltd, which is controlled by the local post and telecommunication bureau and which is one of the biggest internet suppliers in the city, said: The internet business has developed quickly in Shanghai and we have already more than 2,000 customers though we just began internet service late last year. Half of these internet surfers are young individuals who apparently are showing a greater interest in the service than local companies. Analysts say that the spread of the internet is bound to reach new heights as the nation-wide demand for personal computers is growing by up to 80% a year. According to official forecasts 3 million personal computers should be sold this year in China. In 1996 the figure was 1.8 million. The future is promising, another local internet service provider said. China’s first official internet link was unveiled in May 1995 but access to the service is not a straight-forward affair as the government has stamped its authority on it. It orders suppliers to apply for licenses and demands users to register with the police as well as making them promise not to harm the state through the system.