Boston, MA -- (SBWIRE) -- 07/31/2012 -- Latest subscriber data from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology and Chinese operators - China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom - indicated that the industries' growth trajectories are on track to meet our expectations through 2016.
China's 3G industry remained the operators' main focal point due to its significant growth opportunities. At the end of March 2012, there were 151.973mn 3G subscribers, representing 15% of the country's total mobile subscriber base. Although the growth momentum is starting to show signs of weakness, this is largely expected. Mobile operators have been focusing on the more affluent urban cities and the market is rapidly moving towards saturation in light of hefty handset subsidies and marketing. The increasingly prevalent sub-CNY1,000 smartphones strongly suggest that operators are turning their attention to consumers outside the main cities and the lower end of the purchasing power to sustain subscriber growth. While the aggressive strategy is weighing down on operators' profitability, the longer-term goal is to grab market share in the nascent sector before attempting to bolster profit margins through valueadded services and upgrades.
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Mobile operators are not the only companies that are benefiting from China's 3G industry. Handset manufacturers are also eyeing the significant growth opportunities. Apple has formed partnerships with two Chinese mobile operators, although a deal has yet to be struck with market leader China Mobile. Meanwhile, Nokia is hoping that China could jumpstart its flagging smartphone business. Nokia is fully dependent on the Microsoft's Windows Phone operating system (OS) after retiring its Symbian and MeeGo systems, but Microsoft's mobile OS has so far failed to live up to its hype, which remains a distant challenger to the dominance of Apple and Android.
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