Mobile services in China are booming as demand continues to escalate because the vast untapped rural markets and the insatiable desire of the urban dwellers for better services.
Figures released to China Daily by the MII (Ministry of Information Industry) showed that by the end of August 2007, mobile phone users in China had crossed 515 Million at an average increase of 6.8 Million per month.
The Ministry maintained that China’s production of mobile phones from January to August totaled 347.6 Million, a 28% rise from the corresponding period in 2006. Constant demand for cell phones seen in 2006 in the rural areas of the country also shot up the handset production in China.
However, the total number of fixed-line users did not vary much from last month’s 370 Million, while the average number of new fixed-line users was barely 579,234 per month, equivalent to about one-tenth of mobile users.
By August end this year, short text messages sent by the cell phone users in China reached a total of 378 Billion, a 38.3% increase on YOY basis. Also, the revenue of the post and telecommunications services in the country touched around 475 Billion Yuan (US$ 62 Billion) for the initial eight months of 2007, said the Ministry.
By 2001, the boom in China’s economy was reflected in the sudden increase in mobile phone subscriber number with almost 99 Million people owning phones. Growth has accelerated in the past few years, as mobile phones have become an indispensable part of life for the urban Chinese people.
Growth will also be spurred by the low service costs. Bi-directional calling charges are being eliminated by Chinese operators, making the incoming calls free for cell phone users. Efforts are also underway to do away with roaming charges within the country.
Industry experts see no reason for the trend to discontinue as the massive Chinese rural market is still untapped along with the craze of urban residents for greater style, media-rich, and Web-enabled handsets growing unabated.
A research analyst at RNCOS says, “The growing mobile usage in China is good news for its economy. As subscriber rates are soaring, the use of value-added mobile services is also undergoing rapid increase. There is also overwhelming growth in text messaging or Short Messaging Service (SMS) in China. With mobile services in China experiencing growth like never before, operators have vast opportunities to expand their revenues”.
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