China Passes U.S. in Mobile Web


Mobile Internet usage in China has surpassed that of the U.S., according to numbers released today by Nielsen. The Chinese have embraced mobile phones in huge numbers (755 million), and this fuels heavy mobile web usage. The lack of a landline network makes the phone the only option for web connectivity for many in China, so when they think of the web they instinctively think of the phone.

Companies should pay attention to this strong mobile web adoption in China, as the same factors fueling it are found in many developing countries. Smartphones are widely available in most countries today and, as in China, will be the only vehicle to travel the web in many of them.

China’s 3G network has been rolling out rapidly to handle the sheer volume of phones in use, and other countries should be watching to benefit from any lessons learned by the Chinese. Network rollouts are not cheap, and any obstacles avoided are like money in the bank for companies outside China.

While developing countries gravitate to the mobile web due to the lack of alternatives, it is wise to keep an eye on this process. Necessity is indeed the mother of invention, and as the world adopts the mobile web in increasing numbers, the infrastructure needed to handle it must grow tremendously.


The China Phone

I would like to see Apple ink a deal with China’s largest cell phone company China Mobile (est 508 million users) to provide its government approved Smartphone for the masses. I know they have a lesser deal with number two player but if the government blesses the Apple phone as THE China Phone it would be a huge coup and could turn the screws on all those zealous Android freaks that think their stuff don’t stink.

Ramon B. Nuez Jr.

You might get that wish sooner than later. Apple recently purchased a few million CDMA chips from Qualcomm. The argument is that these chips are for the possible Verizon iPhone due out late Q4 2010.

What I find curious is that landlines are cost prohibitive in China. As such wireless broadband is the only real option.

I wonder how China is dealing with its spectrum ecosystem? India just went through a round of auctioning off spectrum and it was fairly expensive. In the US we currently have a spectrum shortage. I wonder if China is keeping tabs and building a spectrum roadmap?


I keep mentioning that there is a good chance those millions of CDMA chips are going to Chinese iPhones and people scoff and say China isn’t high tech enough for an iPhone. These stats just show that it might be a worthy investment.

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