Billions from China’s Mobile Millions

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Most China-watchers know that the dream of a billion consumers is just that. However, I have commented in the past that “billions” do appear from time to time.

Last week I heard another good statistic – for text messages sent by China’s 411 million mobile phone users (as of 2005). How many were sent last year? 307 billion! (According to Prof. Zhou Qiren at the China Centre for Economic Research at Peking University, speaking at Chatham House in London last week). Not bad going. Here are some more 2005 figures:

    • Total telecom revenues: RMB579.9 billion.
    • Minutes of calling time: 1,475.9 billion
    • Minutes of internet usage time: 508.1 billion

By the end of June 2006 the presentation also noted that there were:

    • 365 million fixed-line users
    • 426 million mobile users
    • 89 million PHS users (end 2005)
    • 123 million internet users

Recent discussions indicate that the fixed line operators (China Telecom and China Netcom) are fighting hard to obtain mobile licenses so that they can participate in the explosive growth of that sector with the incumbents (China Mobile and China Unicom). The Ministry of Information Industry is giving the idea serious consideration – and 2007 could be an interesting year for the industry. Watch this space.


    Materials from Chatham House Conference: Building China’s Communications and Information Future, London 24-24 October, 2006. See here for details.

    (Note: The event was not held under “Chatham House Rules” so can be reported).

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