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BEIJING, Dec. 23 (Xinhua) -- The State Council, or China's Cabinet, said Friday the government will accelerate the development of the next-generation Internet industry in the next few years and boost the sector's role in stimulating the economy.

China aims to put the Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6)-based network into small-scale commercial pilot use and form a mature business model by the end of 2013, according to a statement released after an executive meeting of the State Council presided over by Premier Wen Jiabao.

From 2014 to 2015, the country will deploy and commercialize the IPv6-based network on a large scale and achieve the interconnection between IPv4 and IPv6-based operations, the statement said.

During that period, a group of international competitive research institutions and enterprises in the next-generation Internet sector will be established, it said.

"The Internet industry's effect on boosting consumption, investment, exports and employment will be fully strengthened," according to the statement.

China launched the construction of the next-generation Internet in 2003, featuring the IPv6 network as a key technology.

The IPv6 network, first developed in the 1990s, allows a much higher theoretical limit on the number of IP addresses than the current IPv4 system. The IPv4 system provided only about four billion addresses, and they had all been used by February this year.

China's IPv6 addresses only account for 0.29 percent of the global total, lagging far behind other countries, Wu Hequan, a member of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, said at a seminar in June.

It is important to build a next-generation Internet with abundant addresses, advanced and energy-saving technologies, high security and a mature business model, Friday's statement said.

The government will focus on improving infrastructure, research, commercialization and information safety, it said, noting that the Internet of Things, cloud computing and mobile Internet will also be supported.

Both fiscal and private investment in the industry will be encouraged, said the statement.

China has the world's largest Internet population, with the number of Internet users reaching 485 million by the end of June this year, figures from the China Internet Network Information Center show.

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