China’s mobile ecosystem added RMB5.2 trillion ($750 billion) in value to the country’s economy last year, equivalent to 5.5 percent of China’s GDP in 20181, according to a new GSMA report.
The data features in the first ever China edition of the GSMA’s Mobile Economy report series, which is published today at a special roundtable event in Beijing to discuss the latest developments in the Chinese mobile industry as it enters the 5G era.
“Our new report outlines how China’s mobile industry has been a key driver of economic growth, inclusion and modernisation – creating a new generation of digital consumers and transforming industry and society,” said Mats Granryd, Director General of the GSMA.
“After spending billions over the last decade deploying 4G networks to all corners of the country, Chinese mobile operators are now set to invest a further RMB401 billion ($58 billion) over the next two years to prepare for and begin 5G rollouts, laying the groundwork for China to become one of the world’s leading 5G markets.”
The report reveals that:
- The number of licensed cellular IoT connections in China stood at 672 million at the end of 2018, supporting various industrial and smart cities applications;
- China is the largest mobile market in the world, home to almost 1.2 billion unique mobile subscribers2 at the end of 2018, representing 82 per cent of the country’s population;
- More than two thirds (69 percent) of mobile connections in China3 are smartphones, with smartphone adoption expected to reach 88 per cent of connections by 2025;
- 77 per cent of China’s connections are currently running on 4G networks – 4G adoption will peak in the coming years before falling as consumers migrate to next-generation mobile services;
- China is set to become one of the world’s leading 5G markets with 460 million 5G connections forecast by 2025, which would account for 28 per cent of China’s total connections by this point;
- The RMB5.2 trillion ($750 billion) economic contribution by China’s mobile ecosystem in 2018 is forecast to grow to RMB6 trillion ($870 billion) by 2023;
- China’s mobile ecosystem directly and indirectly supported 8.5 million jobs in 2018 and made a tax contribution to the public finances of government of RMB583 billion ($84 billion).
1. GDP contribution comprises mobile operators (1.0% of GDP); related industries (1.1%); indirect contribution (0.7%); and productivity improvements (2.7%).
2. A unique mobile subscriber represents an individual that can account for multiple SIM connections.
3. There were 1.5 billion SIM connections in China in 2018 (excluding licensed cellular IoT), forecast to rise to 1.7 billion by 2025.
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