Monday, May 18, 2009

China: Telecoms, mobile, broadband and forecasts

DUBLIN, IRELAND: Research and Markets has announced the addition of the "China - Telecoms, Mobile, Broadband and Forecasts" report to its offering.

The Chinese telecommunications market is the largest in the world. With the mobile sector still expanding at over 15 percent going into 2009, and the long-awaited licensing of 3G services completed after finalising the industry restructure, the market is poised for yet another boost amongst what is hoped to be a more level playing field.

The importance of the regulatory regime must not be underestimated in a market like China, where political and commercial considerations are closely intertwined. China's telecommunications industry experienced much disruption during 2008.

In early 2008, massive snow storms, the worst in five decades, caused widespread disruption to telecom services. The snow storms killed at least 60 people and left tens of millions to experience a cold, dark Lunar New Year holiday. In excess of 33 million fixed and mobile services were cut and direct economic losses incurred as a result of the fierce snowstorms.

Then, later in the year, a major earthquake struck near the Sichuan provincial capital of Chengdu. The 7.5 magnitude quake resulted in thousands being evacuated from buildings in Beijing, some 1,500km from the epicentre. These natural disasters tested the networks of the major telcos, not to mention their disaster recovery response times.

Despite these testing events, the market continued to experience healthy growth. Not even the global financial crisis could stall the profound growth that has been the phenomenon of the China market in the last decade.

The networks withstood the onslaught of the Olympic Games and although uncomfortable under the scrutiny of the international press and the media glare due to China's strict enforcement of Internet regulations, the country's networks were robust and successfully beamed coverage of the major sporting event worldwide.

China surpassed Japan in 2004 as the market with the second most broadband lines after the US. In mid-2008 China became the largest broadband market in the world, finally passing the US. Going into 2009, China's broadband subscriber population passed the 80 million milestone. China has also become the top DSL market in the world. Despite this huge subscriber base, penetration remains comparatively low, meaning there is still much room for growth.

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