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  • Digital World in China, now and future?

    Post by : expatree

Digital, Social and Mobile Media have shown no signs of slowing down in the future of China. To begin with, here are some headlines you need to be aware of:

Internet Users: 668 million, a 6% year-on-year increase
Social Media Users: 659 million – more than the USA and Europe combined
Unique Mobile Users: 675 million, responsible for 1.3 billion mobile subscriptions
Mobile Internet Users: 594 million, accounting for 89% of all China’s internet user
Mobile Social Media Users: 574 million, up 15 million since this time last year

The year-on-year growth rates tell interesting stories too.

Internet in China

Roughly 100,000 people in China started using the internet every day over the past year – that’s more than one every second. Much of this growth is being driven by improved mobile access, with close to 90% of the country’s netizens using mobile devices to access the internet. It’s worth noting that this is often in addition to PC-based usage too, but an increasing number of the country’s internet users are mobile-only, especially in rural areas.

When it comes to the total volume of web traffic, PC-based access still dominates, with 56% of the web pages served to China’s netizens in the past month going to laptop or desktop computers. However, this figure is down 29% year-on-year, while the number of web page requests from mobile devices has jumped 136% to 42%. These trends suggest that mobile usage will account for more than half of all China’s web activity by early 2016.

Despite mobile’s promise of ubiquitous internet access, however, internet usage still isn’t evenly distributed in China, and a marked difference remains between urban and rural usage rates. Nearly two-thirds of China’s urban population now uses the internet every month, but barely 3 in 10 of China’s rural citizens are online.

The good news is that connection speeds are up considerably on last year, with the average fixed-connection access speed up 17% year-on-year according to Akamai. It’s worth noting that the average mobile connection speed is considerably higher than that of fixed connections though, with the average connection in China now considered ‘broadband’ (i.e. 4Mbps or above).


Social Media in China

The overall number of social media users in China grew more slowly than we expected over the past year, but this is more likely due to a change in behaviour, rather than a warning of interest in social media. It’s also worth noting that social media usage in China is already at a very high level, with the numbers suggesting that 99% of China’s internet community uses social media of some description. It’s worth noting that more people sign in to QQ via mobile devices each month than sign in to WeChat, but WeChat offers more varied services and functionality for both users and marketers.

It’s interesting to note that Facebook, Google+ and Twitter all appear in this list too; they may be officially ‘blocked’ by the Great Firewall, but GlobalWebIndex’s research suggest that a considerable number of China’s netizens are getting round these blocks to access non-Chinese social platforms.

87% of China’s social media users now access via mobile devices at some point each month, with platforms like WeChat helping to drive overall numbers up 77 million over the past 12 months – a year-on-year increase of 15% that equates to more than 200,000 new users every day, or almost 2.5 new users ever second.

At 1 hour and 43 minutes per day, social media accounts for just under half of all the time that people spend online in China. The country’s social media users spend 23% longer using social media than they do watching TV each day, although it’s worth noting that much of this time overlaps, with many TV viewers engaging in ‘second-screen’ social media use at the same time.


Mobile in China

With 675 million unique subscribers in China, almost half the country’s population now owns a mobile phone, and we fully expect to see the country pass this milestone before the end of 2015.

The number of mobile subscriptions in China rose significantly in 2014 too, with three new subscribers every second contributing to annual growth of 94 million – an 8% year-on-year increase.

The number of mobile subscriptions in China is now very close to the number of people living in the country, which suggest that the average user still maintains close to 2 active connections.

However, we expect that this ratio will reduce over the coming months as more and more people upgrade from feature phones to smartphones; the main reason why individuals operate more than one mobile contract is to benefit from intra-network deals, but data-powered communications such as chat apps and VOIP are more efficient and effective ways of achieving the same benefits.

Smartphones are clearly the must-have devices in China today, accounting for 90% of new handset sales. They already account for just less than two-thirds of all handsets in active use, and we expect their overall share to increase steadily over the coming months as more people renew their devices. When it comes to internet-powered activities on mobile devices, Chinese netizens appear to be particularly interested in checking the weather. China’s mobile users also appear to have embraced m-commerce, with reports suggesting that 20% of the country’s population have made a recent online purchase via their mobile device.

E-Commerce in China

E-commerce more generally appears to be thriving in China, with almost one in three internet users buying online each month. Thanks to the policy support, Cross border eCommerce business becomes more and more competitve, showing the huge potential cosuming capability in Chinese market. Every eCommerce site has occupied a small market share but no one can say they are confident enough to dominate this field already. Even Tmall Global has to put amounts of advertising investment and try to fight againt other fast growing opponents. 

Date:2015-09-17 21:57:59
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