2017 China - Telecoms, Mobile, Broadband and Digital Media - Statistics and Analyses

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Last updated: 12 Jul 2017 Update History

Report Status: Archived

Report Pages: 88

Analyst: Phil Harpur

Publication Overview

This report provides a comprehensive overview of trends and developments in China’s telecommunications market. The report analyses the Telecoms Infrastructure, mobile, fixed broadband, Digital Media and Digital Economy sectors. Subjects include:

Market and industry analyses, trends and developments;

  • Facts, figures and statistics;
  • Industry and regulatory issues;
  • Infrastructure;
  • Major players, revenues, subscribers, ARPU;
  • Broadband, VoIP, IPTV;
  • Mobile voice and data markets;
  • Broadband (FttH, DSL, wireless);
  • Digital Economy and Digital Media sectors eg e-Commerce and e-Payments;
  • Mobile and fixed broadband forecasts to 2022.

Researcher:- Phil Harpur
Current publication date:- July 2017 (23rd Edition)

Executive Summary

China moves towards a 5G future

The Chinese telecom market is the largest in the world in terms of subscribers and is undergoing transition. Mobile subscriptions outnumber fixed voice connections and voice is giving way to data as the primary revenue generator. China’s telecom market is served by three operators; China Telecom, China Unicom and China Mobile. All three are integrated providers of telecom services although China Mobile is the largest in the crucial mobile market.

China’s fixed-line market is in decline due to voice mobile substitution although the two main fixed-line operators of China Telecom and China Unicom have aggressively deployed and marketed fibre broadband to increase the value of maintaining a fixed-line. Fixed line penetration has dropped significantly over the past five years. This trend is predicted to continue over the next five years to 2022 driven by the growing adoption of mobile broadband.

China's telecommunications development has generally been driven by investments from government-allied entities. However, the Chinese government has chosen a minimal intervention approach in broadband development.

Although some government funding is spent on universal service, a major strategy of the Chinese government has been to create a competitive market structure by restructuring the telecommunications sector.

China possesses the largest broadband subscriber base in the world, with the majority of users accessing the Internet through mobile devices. Broadband makes up the majority of fixed Internet connections given dial-up comprises less than 2% of total fixed Internet connections.

Unlike the US market, where cable internet access plays a prominent role in developing the fixed broadband market, DSL was the initial driving force behind fixed broadband growth in China, followed later by EPON fibre and now GPON fibre.

The government's Broadband China Plan aims to provide nationwide broadband access with speeds of at least 50 Mbps in urban areas and 12 Mbps in rural areas by 2020. Fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) coverage is close to 90% in cities in most provinces. Moderate fixed broadband growth is predicted over the next five years to 2022. Fibre broadband adoption will continue to dominate the market.

China’s online audience is growing wealthier due to ongoing urbanisation. As a consequence China’s online audience is increasingly willing to spend online, a trend encouraged by the government as it seeks to balance the economy away from an overreliance on building infrastructure and exporting goods towards domestic consumption.

Although China boasts the largest mobile market in the world, there is still much room for growth given the relatively recent focus on large scale LTE investment. All three mobile network operators are focused on deploying LTE networks and monetizing such investments by enticing end users to upgrade to higher ARPU LTE products such as mobile broadband.

Mobile broadband has seen very strong growth in China over the past five years. Slower growth is predicted for the next five years to 2022 in a fast maturing market. China has emerged as one of the most aggressive countries promoting 5G. The major Chinese internet companies will lead the way in introducing advanced consumer services based on 4K and 8K videos, as well as augmented and virtual reality technologies, on the new 5G networks.

Key developments:

  • Fixed line penetration has dropped significantly over the past five years.
  • China’s government strengthens IOT policies to boost economic growth.
  • China’s government further opens the telecom market to private companies.
  • China possesses the world’s largest M2M market.
  • Broadband has become the key revenue generator for China’s three telcos.
  • Fibre has overtaken DSL to become the key fixed broadband technology platform.
  • Mobile is the most popular Internet access method in China.
  • Increasing focus on mobile apps by China’s digital media giants.
  • China has emerged as one of the most aggressive countries promoting 5G.

Key companies mentioned in this report:

China Mobile; China Telecom; China Unicom, Apple, Alibaba, JD.com, Baidu, Tencent, SINA, Weibo, Sohu, Xiaomi, Meilishuo, Mogujie, RenRen, V.QQ.com, BesTV

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