Is IE6 really used in China?

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According to Microsoft's own stats, Internet Explorer 6 still accounts for more than 20% of web browser usage within China.

Around a quarter of our 4,500 international students are Chinese (source PDF) and so we've always been really hesistant about switching off support which would affect a demographic which accounts for over 200 people.

But is this concern well-grounded? For several years we've listed IE6 as a browser with 'degraded support', but it's now been more than ten years since it came out - does the usage really justify still accounting for a browser which had existed for 6 years by the time the iPhone was released?

Chinese visits by browser
Chinese visits by browser, August 2012 - November 2012

Google Analytics tells us that over the last three months, IE 6  was used for more than 15% of visits from China - this is 5 percentage points more popular than the highest ranked version of Google Chrome, which sits at just below 10%. The only mobile browser to appear in the top 10 is the iPhone 5's browser, but even this sits at just 5.5%.

As a whole, IE is utterly dominant, and Firefox doesn't appear at all - a very different picture to the one we drew a few months ago when looking at our overall traffic which concluded that IE, Firefox, Chrome and Safari take approximately a quarter of the market each.

To answer whether we still need to support IE6 we really need to look at which areas of the site those IE6 users are accessing, but in the meantime this is some interesting food for thought.

Posted in: Archive