last April, but back then it still seemed possible that India might reach the billion user milestone first. China was ahead in absolute terms, while India's user base was growing faster. According to the latest figures from its government, however, China is ready to stake its claim. It had 997 million phone owners by late February, with growth of around three million per week, which means it should have tipped the scales in the last few days. Of course, it's not really about who gets there first: The salient fact is that millions more humans can now ring each other up, just, you know, to chat.