It was only a matter of time before it happened, but according to a new report from research firm BDA China, the online population of China has officially surpassed that of the United States, making it the world's largest internet marketplace.

The number of Chinese on the Internet hit more than 200 million by the end of 2007, but surged past the US' to more than 233 million by the end of last month. Despite their rapidly increasing internet population, the proportion of internet users among the total population is still lower than the global average, with the country's internet population standing at just 17% of its 1.3 billion citizens. By comparison, 71 percent of the US population has internet access. This isn't particularly bad news for the Asian country, as it means there's room for considerably more growth.