BEIJING: The number of web users in China — already the world’s largest online population — has risen over 700 million, authorities said on Wednesday as they seek to turn the internet into a new growth driver. The country had 710 million internet users — defined as those who have gone online at least once in the past six months — by June, up 3.1 percent from the end of December, the government-linked China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC) said in a statement. The number is more than double the number of people in the United States and means more than half of the world’s largest national population are now using the internet. Beijing imposes strict controls on online content, while e-commerce is a vital part of its efforts to transform the economy into one driven more by consumer demand. The government is pushing for a so-called “internet plus” project that aims to expand the application of online technology in industry as part of attempts to modernize.