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The Mobile Economy China 2019



China’s broad and diverse mobile ecosystem underpins the country’s digitisation strategy and is having a profound impact on consumers, businesses and wider society. With close to 1.2 billion subscribers, China is the largest mobile market globally. Particularly impressive is the rate of growth in mobile internet penetration, which reached 58% at year-end 2018.

By year-end 2018, the number of smartphone connections in China surpassed 1 billion. We expect China to retain its status as the largest smartphone market in the world, with more than 1.4 billion connections. Adoption will reach 88%, three percentage points behind the US and South Korea, but ahead of the EU5.

4G has been successful in enabling the transition from the connected consumer to the digital consumer, typified by an increasing willingness among users to engage with social media platforms and a range of online services. China is also aiming to be part of the first wave of 5G commercialisation, with operators currently considering whether to pursue a standalone or a non-standalone model for 5G.

Chinese policymakers have taken important steps to modernise the country’s regulatory framework for telecoms, establishing a platform for further digital progression. Though further reforms should be considered, many technological advancements are on the horizon and more industries will adopt and commercialise digital solutions. Operators appear resolved to provide the superior connectivity required to power China in the 5G era, supporting the country’s transition to a leading digital society and its presence on the international stage.



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