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

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

Table of Contents

  • 1. Key statistics
  • 2. Telecommunications market
    • 2.1 Market overview and analysis
    • 2.2 Historical overview
      • 2.2.1 Background of China’s telecom market – 1980s and 1990s
      • 2.2.2 Background of China’s telecom market – 2000-2007
      • 2.2.3 Overview of China’s telecom market – 2008-2012
  • 3. Regulatory environment
    • 3.1 Historic overview
    • 3.2 Regulatory authority
      • 3.2.1 Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT)
      • 3.2.2 China Internet Network Information Centre
    • 3.3 Government policies
      • 3.3.1 Private investment in state-controlled industries
      • 3.3.2 Broadband China
      • 3.3.3 Three-network Convergence Policy
      • 3.3.4 Internet Plus
      • 3.3.5 IOT / M2M
    • 3.4 Telecommunications Regulations
    • 3.5 Licensing
    • 3.6 Interconnect
      • 3.6.1 Local calls and domestic long distance calls
      • 3.6.2 International long distance calls
      • 3.6.3 Internet backbone networks
      • 3.6.4 SMS
      • 3.6.5 MMS
    • 3.7 Tariff Setting
    • 3.8 Universal Service Obligation
  • 4. Competition issues
    • 4.1 New Telecommunications Licenses
  • 5. Fixed network operators
    • 5.1 Introduction
    • 5.2 China Telecom
      • 5.2.1 Company overview
      • 5.2.2 China Telecom: Financial statistics
      • 5.2.3 China Telecom: Operations statistics
    • 5.3 China Unicom
      • 5.3.1 Company overview
      • 5.3.2 China Unicom: Financial statistics
      • 5.3.3 China Unicom: Operations statistics
    • 5.4 China Mobile
    • 5.5 China Tower
    • 5.6 CITIC Networks
  • 6. Telecommunications infrastructure
    • 6.1 Overview of the national telecom network
    • 6.2 New developments
    • 6.3 International infrastructure (satellite, submarine)
      • 6.3.1 Terrestrial and submarine cable infrastructure
      • 6.3.2 Satellite infrastructure
      • 6.3.3 International Internet bandwidth
    • 6.4 Specific IT developments (data centres, cloud computing)
      • 6.4.1 Cloud Computing
    • 6.5 Smart infrastructure
      • 6.5.1 IoT
      • 6.5.2 Smart grids
      • 6.5.3 Smart cities
      • 6.5.4 Connected homes
      • 6.5.5 Connected cars
  • 7. Broadband market
    • 7.1 Introduction and statistical overview
      • 7.1.1 Market overview and analysis
      • 7.1.2 Broadband statistics
      • 7.1.3 Forecast broadband subscribers – 2017; 2019; 2022
    • 7.2 Regional Broadband Network Plans
    • 7.3 Fibre-to-the-Premises (FttP) and Fibre-To-The-Home (FttH)
      • 7.3.1 Introduction
      • 7.3.2 Recent Developments
      • 7.3.3 China Telecom
      • 7.3.4 China Unicom
      • 7.3.5 China Mobile
    • 7.4 Hybrid Fibre Coax (HFC) networks
    • 7.5 Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) networks
      • 7.5.1 Fixed wireless
  • 8. Digital media
    • 8.1 Introduction
    • 8.2 Regulation
    • 8.3 Key digital media players
      • 8.3.1 Baidu
      • 8.3.2 Tencent
      • 8.3.3 SINA
      • 8.3.4 Weibo
      • 8.3.5 Sohu
    • 8.4 Advertising
    • 8.5 Television broadcasting
    • 8.6 Internet Protocol TV (IPTV)
      • 8.6.1 Alibaba
      • 8.6.2 Tencent
      • 8.6.3 Xiaomi
      • 8.6.4 China Telecom
      • 8.6.5 China Unicom
    • 8.7 Hybrid fibre coax cable (HFC)
      • 8.7.1 Overview
      • 8.7.2 Statistics
      • 8.7.3 Digital Cable TV
    • 8.8 Video streaming
      • 8.8.1 Major players
    • 8.9 Social media
      • 8.9.1 Meilishuo
      • 8.9.2 Mogujie
      • 8.9.3 RenRen
    • 8.10 On line gaming and gambling
      • 8.10.1 Major players
  • 9. Digital economy
    • 9.1 Introduction
    • 9.2 Online activities
      • 9.2.1 e-Commerce
      • 9.2.2 e-Banking
      • 9.2.3 e-payments
      • 9.2.4 e-Government
      • 9.2.5 e-Health
      • 9.2.6 e-Education
  • 10. Mobile communications
    • 10.1 Market overview and analysis
    • 10.2 Mobile statistics
      • 10.2.1 General statistics
      • 10.2.2 Mobile broadband
      • 10.2.3 Forecasts - mobile subscribers – 2017; 2019; 2022
    • 10.3 Regulatory issues
      • 10.3.1 Licensing
      • 10.3.2 Mobile Number Portability (MNP)
      • 10.3.3 VAT Introduction
    • 10.4 Mobile infrastructure
      • 10.4.1 Digital networks
      • 10.4.2 Other infrastructure developments
      • 10.4.3 IoT and M2M networks
    • 10.5 Major mobile operators
      • 10.5.1 Operators
      • 10.5.2 China Mobile
      • 10.5.3 China Telecom
      • 10.5.4 China Unicom
      • 10.5.5 MVNOs
    • 10.6 Mobile content and applications
      • 10.6.1 Rich Communication Services (RCS)
      • 10.6.2 Mobile gaming
      • 10.6.3 m-commerce
      • 10.6.4 m-banking (payments/loans)
      • 10.6.5 Mobile Advertising
      • 10.6.6 m-TV
      • 10.6.7 Apps
      • Table 1 – Country statistics – 2017
      • Table 2 – Telephone network statistics – 2017
      • Table 3 – Internet user statistics – 2017
      • Table 4 – Fixed Broadband statistics – 2017
      • Table 5 – Mobile statistics – 2017
      • Table 6 – National telecommunications authorities
      • Table 7 – Historic - Telecom industry revenue and fixed asset investment
      • Table 8 – China Telecom financial data – 2001 - 2016
      • Table 9 – China Telecom revenue breakdown – 2009 – 2016
      • Table 10 – China Telecom fixed-line, fixed broadband subscribers and ARPU – 2004 - 2017
      • Table 11 – China Unicom financial data – 2001 - 2017
      • Table 12 – China Unicom – Fixed line Local access subscribers – 2008 - 2017
      • Table 13 – Fixed-lines and penetration rate – 1998 - 2018
      • Table 14 – Historic - China total international outlet bandwidth
      • Table 15 – Historic - International outlet bandwidth for key networks
      • Table 16 – Urban and Rural Internet users
      • Table 17 – Internet users, penetration and annual change – 1996 – 2017
      • Table 18 – Fixed broadband subscribers, annual change and penetration – 2003 - 2017
      • Table 19 – Total international internet bandwidth – 2007 - 2017
      • Table 20 – Historic - Internet access by Internet access device type
      • Table 21 – Historic - Internet access locations for computers
      • Table 22 – China Telecom fixed broadband subscribers and annual change – 2003 - 2016
      • Table 23 – China Unicom – Fixed line Broadband subscribers – 2008 – 2016
      • Table 24 – Forecast broadband subscribers and penetration rates – 2012 - 2017; 2019; 2022
      • Table 25 – China Telecom – FttX homes passed and Subscribers
      • Table 26 – Historic - DSL internet subscribers – 2000 - 2014
      • Table 27 – China online advertising revenue – 2012 - 2018
      • Table 28 – Cable TV subscriptions and annual growth – 1996 - 2016
      • Table 29 – Digital cable TV subscribers and penetration rate – 2002 - 2016
      • Table 30 – Utilisation rate and number of users of different network applications
      • Table 31 – Online shopping users and utilisation rate
      • Table 32 – Brand penetration of online payment platforms – 2015
      • Table 33 – Historical - Mobile subscribers and annual change – 1995 - 2002
      • Table 34 –– Mobile subscribers, Penetration and Annual Change - 2002 - 2017
      • Table 35 – Mobile broadband subscribers – 2009 - 2017
      • Table 36 – Forecast mobile subscribers and penetration rates – 2017; 2019; 2022
      • Table 37 – Mobile subscribers by operator and market share – 2017
      • Table 38 –– Mobile subscribers by provider - 2002 - 2017
      • Table 39 – Mobile subscriber market share by provider - 2002 - 2017
      • Table 40 – China Mobile revenue, capex, EBITDA margin, net profit – 2000 - 2017
      • Table 41 – CAPEX breakdown – 2016 - 2017
      • Table 42 – China Mobile ARPU – 1997 – 2016
      • Table 43 – China Mobile subscribers, annual change, and market share – 1997 - 2017
      • Table 44 – China Mobile - 3G and 4G subscribers – 2015 - 2017
      • Table 45 – China Telecom mobile and 3G/4G subscribers and ARPU – 2002 - 2017
      • Table 46 – China Unicom - 4G and total subscribers – 2014 - 2017
      • Table 47 – Historic - China Unicom 2G and 3G/4G subscribers – 2002 – 2015
      • Table 48 – China Unicom 2G and 3G/4G ARPU– 2008 - 2016
      • Table 49 – Historic - Utilisation rate and number of users for mobile applications
      • Table 50 – Historic - Mobile online gaming users and utilisation rate
      • Table 51 – Historic - Apple net sales for Greater China
      • Chart 1 – Fixed-line and penetration rate – 2006 - 2018
      • Chart 2 –Internet users and penetration in China – 2000 – 2017
      • Chart 3 – China broadband subscribers and household penetration – 2003 - 2017
      • Chart 4 – China Mobile market subscribers and penetration – 2002 - 2017
      • Chart 5 – Mobile broadband subscribers – 2013 - 2017
      • Exhibit 1 – Restructuring of China’s telecommunications industry
      • Exhibit 2 – China Telecom Corporation Ltd at a glance
      • Exhibit 3 – China Unicom Ltd at a glance
      • Exhibit 4 – Regional/international fibre optic cable networks
      • Exhibit 5 – Selected Chinese satellite service providers and satellites
      • Exhibit 6 – China Satcom satellite fleet
      • Exhibit 7 – China Mobile Limited at a glance

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