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Nearly 90% of Chinese Internet users use smartphone to go online

Meng Jing
Updated: Jul 23,2015 5:09 PM     chinadaily.com.cn

Smartphones have proved themselves to be the ultimate gateway for Internet users in China as 88.9 percent of them choose to connect to the Internet via mobile devices, said a report released on July 23.

According to the report from China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC), the number of people using Internet rose to 668 million by the end of June, up 18.94 million compared with the end of 2014.

The proportion of those who access the Internet via smartphones jumped to a new high of 88.9 percent by the end of June, compared with 85.8 percent at the end of 2014.

The Beijing-based CNNIC said that the proportion of those who go online via personal computers or tablets has dropped. By the end of June, about 68.4 percent of Chinese netizens accessed Internet via desktop. The rate was 42.5 percent for laptops.

Tablets ranked the lowest with 33.7 percent of netizens using the mobile device to surf Internet. With size of smartphone screens increasing, they will further establish their status as the top devices for Internet users, said CNNIC.

China now has the world’s highest penetration rate for smartphones, according to a report released by the Global System for Mobile Communications Alliance.

The new study shows that smartphone adoption in China reached 62 percent during the first three months of this year, against Europe’s 55 percent on average.

The alliance said the number of unique mobile subscribers, which can account for multiple mobile connections, reached 632 million by the end of March, accounting for 48 percent of the population.

Smartphone penetration is predicted to reach 68 percent by the end of this year, it said.

The proliferation of smartphones across urban areas of China has been fueled by increasing popularity of both international brands such as Apple’s iPhone and domestic devices, it said.

4G models are now the primary drivers of sales but the study predicts there will not be any new non-4G models released by Chinese smartphone vendors after 2016.

It forecasts 4G connections in China will reach one billion by 2020, representing about two-thirds of the market by that point, up from the 8 percent at the end of 2014.

Local mobile operators are helping to drive the overall shift to 4G by subsidizing the cost of an increasingly wide range of 4G devices via their retail channels. Chinese vendors are also producing a greater proportion of 4G smartphones than their international rivals.

During the first quarter, 70 percent of the new handset models released by Chinese vendors supported 4G, against a global average of 40 percent. A China-manufactured 4G smartphone costs around 375 yuan ($60) more than its 3G equivalent.

“Chinese smartphone vendors such as Xiaomi Corp, Huawei Technologies Co Ltd and Lenovo Group Ltd are benefiting from a rich local smartphone manufacturing and design ecosystem, which is allowing them to compete with foreign smartphone brands such as Apple and Samsung,” said Hyunmi Yang, chief strategy officer at the GSMA.

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