Smartphones are fueling the Chinese Internet revolution.
According to the China Internet Network Information centre, there were 564 million Internet users in China at the end of 2012. Mobile is the largest portal: 420 million Chinese users log on through a mobile device (which does not preclude that they could access Internet through fixed lines too).
There were 398 million Chinese who accessed the Internet via desktop computers at the end of last year, indicating 22 million mobile-only users, up from 8 million in June. Those 14 million new mobile-only users account for 54 per cent of new Internet users added in the second half of the year.
If we assume all 420 million of those mobile Internet users are wielding a smartphone, that translates to a 31 per cent penetration rate among China’s total population of 1.3 billion. In other words, nearly one in three Chinese are smartphone consumers. Not to mention, that calculation captures children who are unlikely to own a smartphone, so the actual proportion of Chinese adults owning smartphones may be a bit higher.
Regardless, there is still significant upside in the Chinese smartphone market. Chinese sales have been driving growth in the global market over the past year, and it looks like they will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.
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