Business / China Development Forum

Mobile innovations key to China's economic transformation

By Li Yang (China Daily) Updated: 2015-03-22 09:46

Mobile innovations key to China's economic transformation

By the end of February, the number of China's 4G users hit 138 million, according to the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology. [Photos provided to China Daily]

In a government work report published early this month, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang vowed to promote the spread of mobile technology in industry and society while strengthening the convergence of IT and emerging industries.

Independent experts have viewed this as part of a strategy designed to help accelerate the transformation of the "new normal" in a slowing Chinese economy. Li's message also presents new business opportunities for high-tech industries.

Findings from a new report by the Boston Consulting Group has provided similar insights. It found that mobile technologies account for 3.7 percent of China's GDP, or $365 billion. That figure is poised to grow to 4.8 percent of its GDP by 2020.

4G boost

China now has more than 600 million mobile Internet users, making it the largest market in the world.

The rapid spread of wireless Internet access and the fast pace of innovation provide an important opportunity for the Chinese government to transform words into deeds.

As China's economy restructures, mobile technology is expected to play an even more important role.

By the end of February, the number of Chinese 4G users will reach 138 million, according to the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology. Some 10.7 percent of mobile phone users have embraced the new technology. More than 50 percent of total mobile connections in China were 3G or 4G by the end of last year. The 3G or 4G mobile phones made in China are used in markets around the world. Chinese OEM 3G or 4G handset exports grew at a compound annual growth rate of approximately 50 percent from 2004 to 2014 and approximately 95 percent year-on-year in 2014.

"4G is one of the most resonating engineering miracles in history," said Steve Mollenkopf, chief executive officer at Qualcomm Inc. Qualcomm, a US headquartered wireless technology leader and innovator, is among the global tech giants that saw the China opportunity early on.

China opportunities

Qualcomm entered China in the late 1990s and established close partnerships with local carriers and device makers on network deployment and device launches.

In the past five years, Qualcomm supported successful launches of nearly 3,000 Chinese OEM or ODM devices in China and overseas, including those from Huawei, ZTE, Lenovo, Xiaomi and OPPO. The company is committed to help globalize Chinese OEMs and expand their business success to international markets.

In 2007, only five out of the world's top 40 mobile phone makers were located in China. By the end of 2013, this number increased to 17, and analysts predict this number will continue to rise.

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