China Mobile 'unscathed' by slowing economy, says chairman

By Wang Xing and Li Weitao (
Updated: 2009-03-03 17:27

The slowing economy has had a minimal impact on China Mobile, the world's largest mobile phone operator in terms of subscribers, Chairman Wang Jiangzhou said on Tuesday.

Related readings:
China Mobile 'unscathed' by slowing economy, says chairmanChina Mobile to speed up Shanghai 3G network construction 
China Mobile 'unscathed' by slowing economy, says chairman China Mobile plans to open own App store, still in talk with Apple
China Mobile 'unscathed' by slowing economy, says chairman China Mobile tops brand value
China Mobile 'unscathed' by slowing economy, says chairman China 3G pace gathers speed

On the sidelines of the annual sessions of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), which opened on Tuesday, Wang said China Mobile is unscathed amid the slowing economy as about 50 percent of its newly added subscribers are from the rural market.

And China Mobile's business is expected to get a "big boost" from the government's subsidy plan to help farmers buy home appliances which also include mobile phones, Wang said.

The government has earmarked subsidies of 20 billion yuan ($2.92 billion) this year for the program as part of its efforts to boost rural consumption.

Wang also said the operation of China Mobile's third-generation (3G) mobile phone networks based on the homegrown standard TD-SCDMA is "going smoothly". However the uptake of TD-SCDMA is still thwarted by the inadequate number of mobile phones supporting the Chinese standard, Wang said.

Many international giants such as Nokia have been reluctant or slow to embrace TD-SCDMA.

China Mobile is still in talks with Apple Inc about the introduction of iPhones to China, Wang said.

China Unicom, which is building 3G networks based on WCDMA, is reportedly testing iPhones in Hebei province and is ready for a nation-wide introduction.