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July 19, 2012

Chinese Prefer Using Mobile Devices to Access Web

By Jacqueline Lee, Contributing Writer

The Chinese government has just released a study that found that more Chinese citizens prefer to access the Web through their mobile devices rather than their desktop PCs.

Specifically, the number of Chinese Web users who accessed online sites through their mobile devices rose 22.2 percent to 388 million. This contrasted with 380 million users who accessed the Web through their PCs.

The report, issued by the Chinese Network Information Center, reported that half of new Internet users were from rural areas. Of those users, 60 percent access the Internet through their mobile phones.

The rise in the use of mobile devices may impact companies like Baidu, Inc., and Sina Corp. (News - Alert) Both will need to redirect their business models toward mobile technology in order to capture new customers.

Last year, the China Digital Times reported that the U.S. trailed both China and other Pacific Rim countries in their adoption of mobile phone technology. For example, 33 percent of Chinese mobile phone owners access social networks through their mobile phones, while only 25 percent of U.S. users and 11 percent of European users access social networks through their mobile phones.

“In almost every mobile usage aspect, metropolitan China and other Pacific Rim countries lead the way,” said the Times. “That includes mobile social usage, work usage and multiple device ownership.”

In addition to device ownership, the Chinese have invested heavily in 4G development. China Mobile deployed LTE (News - Alert) networks in Beijing, Hangzhou, Nanjing, Guangzhou and Shenzhen and announced plans to deploy 20,000 more base stations in nine cities during 2012.

Chinese leaders have complained of a bottleneck of devices that has prohibited them from carrying out trials on a larger scale. Ric Clark, an Asia-Pacific VP at Alcatel-Lucent (News - Alert), noted that 200,000 base stations “stretches the definition of what a trial is.”

According to, China’s regulatory system sometimes allows new technologies to be deployed under the guise of a “trial.”

China Mobile (News - Alert) previously ran the country’s 3G network, TD-SCDMA, which was unique to China and failed to gain traction in other markets. However, the company should have an easy time upgrading the technology to globally-supported LTE.

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Edited by Brooke Neuman
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