SHANGHAI (AP) _ A software entrepreneur, who was released six months early after being imprisoned in China's first Internet subversion case, said Friday he hopes to go back into business on the Web.

Lin Hai, often branded China's first cyberdissident, said he was not sure why the government freed him on Sept. 23, instead of March 25 when his two-year sentence was due to end.

``I'm not concerned about that, but it's good that they let me out, I'm only concerned about the end result,'' he said in a telephone interview from his home in Shanghai.

Lin was arrested in March 1998 after giving the e-mail addresses of 30,000 Chinese computer users to ``VIP Reference,'' a pro-democracy journal published online by Chinese dissidents in the United States.

Lin was sentenced in January 1999 for ``inciting the overthrow of state power,'' a conviction widely criticized by human rights and press freedom groups.

Lin said he was looking for business opportunities involving the Internet because ``this business is very hot at the moment.'' He said he has reopened a Web site he founded before he was imprisoned. His main business before his detention was setting up Web sites for others, he added.

China keeps a close watch on the Internet and has set up special task forces to monitor the system. Further tightening controls, China recently ordered companies to register computer programs used to transmit sensitive data and expanded its vague state secrets laws to the Internet.

Still, Internet use is soaring. Official media reported that in the last six months of 1999, users more than doubled from 4 million to 8.9 million.