A 2001 IPTel tutorial on SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) notes how China has less IPv4 addresses than Stanford University! (Back then, when they divided the numbers, I guess, China was still considered an "enemy"!?)
A 2003 report published in People's Daily expands on the problem. For example, it notes that:
The present Internet is based on IPv4 protocol. Meanwhile, since the Internet originated in the US, the country has much advantage in IP address distribution. Among the world total of 4 billion IP addresses, 74 percent went to the US itself while the European and Asia-Pacific countries, as latecomers, could only share the rest 26 percent of leftovers.
China, in particular, suffers serious IP address shortage. Statistics show that currently the nation has more than 60 million Internet users, but only a total of 30 million-odd IP addresses are available, namely two users sharing one address. Meanwhile, the nation's 240 million mobile phone users are turning into potential Internet surfers and they need their own IP addresses too. The inadequate supply of IP address is becoming a bottleneck for the Internet development in the country.
The report goes on to emphasize the importance of IPv6 to China and points to large trial networks in Chongqing. It may be time to check back on some of the trends and predictions of the report.