Microsoft has launched a new web site that is aimed to step up its campaign to move users off from Internet Explorer 6. The new IE Countdown site includes a world map, highlighting which countries around the world still have the most IE 6 installations. China is apparently the biggest country which is still using the horrible, outdated web browser, with a whopping 34.5% of usage. IE6’s usage share in China is more than five times that of the rest of the world! IE6 has created huge headaches for developers and security risks for end users, so why do the Chinese Internet user still sticking to this insecure web browser?
According to statistical reports, China has approximately 420 million Internet users, which has already surpassed the U.S. (info here). Of course Microsoft can read those data and acknowledges that China is a bastion of the nine-year-old IE6. IE6 has a strong relation with Windows XP. The XP operating system, which debuted in 2001, included IE6 as its default browser. While Windows XP operation system is a “huge presence” in China. According to Microsoft own research data, XP has a staggering 81.8% share in China, while Windows 7’s share was only about 10%. So, see the picture?
China has dramatically different browser usage patterns than developed countries. Most Chinese people are still using IE6, due to many of them still using old Windows XP machines, and failing to upgrade the hardware, the OS and its default browser. XP users who want to run a newer version of Internet Explorer, such as 2006’s IE7 or 2009’s IE8, have had to either manually upgrade or accept a browser upgrade from Windows Update. But in China, over 90% of software is pirated, most Chinese users never connect to Windows Update or even upgrading their web browser. The reason for this is because most Chinese users are afraid that Microsoft will detect their software as illegal, and disable or cripple it. While anyone can install IE7 or IE8 manually, even on a cracked XP install, but the lack of automated updates likely discourages Chinese users to give up IE6.
Another main reason for IE6 still remaining popular in China, is because most commonly used Chinese websites have been constructed and tested to work with IE6 only, without consideration of web standard (W3C), non-IE browsers (Firefox, Safari, Chrome), or non-Windows platforms (Linux). For example, the China Government’s IT department registration website (MIIT), is IE6 only. Without IE6, authorities cannot file their registration information (story see here). Online banking in China is also strictly a Windows and IE6 love affair. They usually used ActiveX login system, any western companies setting up their brunch office in China, must install IE6 in their Windows PCs, otherwise no work can be done through any of the major Chinese banks. The same case for those China major online shopping sites, which require their customers to use IE, rather then other web browser’s options.
We really hope Microsoft can finally nail the coffin on IE6, and urge the Chinese users for upgrading to modern browsers. In fact IE6 has too much security loopholes and bad user’s experience. Realistically, however, IE6 will continue to be installed by default in China for the next several years, until Windows 7 takes over the Chinese market. The key to upgrading China’s browsers will have to be post-installation, meaning popular websites in China will have to drive the change by directly encouraging or requiring updates, and making the IE6 experience less appealing.
There Are Too Much Light Pollution Over at Hong Kong Apple Stores
Amazon is the First Foreign Tech Company to Offer Paid Android apps in China
You Can Buy Fresh Crocodile Meat in China Supermarket
Lenovo First MediaTek-based Smartphone Teased by Kobe Bryant (Video)