Mobile phones are more than just phones in China

Mobile phones are more than just phones in China

Summary: Well actually the headline today was "Research Discovers That Phones Are Phones", but I think there's more to the story. The research in question was a survey of "999 nationally representative adults" in the UK and was carried out by NOP Omnibus in late August, on behalf of Stockholm based mobile messaging company Mobeon.

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TOPICS: China
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Well actually the headline today was "Research Discovers That Phones Are Phones", but I think there's more to the story. The research in question was a survey of "999 nationally representative adults" in the UK and was carried out by NOP Omnibus in late August, on behalf of Stockholm based mobile messaging company Mobeon. It found that:

"...on a daily basis, advanced services such as call diverts, picture galleries, calendars, MMS, email or web access are left untouched by all but 17% of mobile users."

In other words, 83% of respondents use their phone for just talking and texting on a daily basis. That last bit is key - on a daily basis. Personally I don't even use landline phones on a daily basis, let alone fiddle around with advanced functions of my mobile phone.

Another thing that is key here is where the survey was carried out: the UK. I suspect the results would've been similar in other Western countries such as the US, Italy, or New Zealand. But what if the survey had been carried out in China, or Korea, or Japan? 

Why do I ask that? Because recently MorganStanley analysts Mary Meeker and Richard Ji released a report that listed the top 10 trends in China. The number 3 trend was this:

"Unlike the Rest of the World, China Internet is Mobile-centric Rather Than PC-centric"

China is currently No. 1 in the world in mobile subscribers and No. 1 in Internet users under the age of 30, according to the report. Some more mobile stats from the report (PDF):

  • China has over 360MM mobile phone users, 3.6 times more than its Internet users.
  • The total number of China’s mobile users is equal to the total of the next three nations (US, Japan, and Germany) combined. In the US, it is the reverse: the total number of Internet users in the US is equal to the total of the next three nations combined. 
  • China’s people are heavier users of mobile data services, relative to other countries.
  • China, in many ways, is leading the development and monetization of mobile content (i.e. KongZhong, TOM Online) in ways that are still nascent in the US.

The MorganStanley report also states: "We view mobile value-added services as an overlooked opportunity." Content was singled out as being hot. One example of that is MTV's recent deal with the world's biggest wireless telecoms operator China Mobile, which according to China Daily "marked the first time MTV content has been distributed on the mobile phone platform".

All this suggests a lot of room for growth, for China at least, in presumably the same "advanced services" that only 17% of UK survey respondents use on a daily basis (according to the Mobeon survey). Phones may be just phones in the Western world, but they're much more than that in China.

Topic: China

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  • Phone-y

    [Phones may be just phones in the Western world, but they're much more than that in China.]

    Yeah, they're the MOST EXPENSIVE PIECE OF ELECTRONIC EQUIPMENT in their life. Would you "waste" your biggest investment, or would you take the most advantage of it? I'll bet that most of those Chinese people don't have a TV or land-line phone - so they NEED their mobile phone to get news, email, address book, calculator, appointments/calendar, etc. Most people in the West have these things in multiple places - which means that they are LESS likely to do their "work" on a 3 inch screen with 1/4" keys (Chinese people don't HAVE "fat" fingers!).
    Roger Ramjet
    • Why thank you for making that point for me.

      (NT)
      Been_Done_Before
    • I should also add

      My cousin was over there last year, shes an IT person like me, course she runs her own business. Anyhow, she told me that dont have much infrastructure for communications other than wireless. All of her internet connections were wireless, she said not even the hotels had land lines.
      Been_Done_Before
    • And yet, Roger...

      [i]Most people in the West have these things in multiple places - which means that they are LESS likely to do their "work" on a 3 inch screen with 1/4" keys (Chinese people don't HAVE "fat" fingers!).[/i]

      ...in case you missed it, just a few months ago in Great Britain a cell-phone ringtone (the so-called "Crazy Frog" ditty) kicked the butt of ColdPlay's just-released single at the tops of the UK charts. What can we deduce from this?
      Yen_z
      • Deduction

        P.T. Barnum was RIGHT! ;)
        Roger Ramjet
  • Not just China.

    [i]"Unlike the Rest of the World, China Internet is Mobile-centric Rather Than PC-centric"[/i]

    So is Japan and Korea's. A few quotes from an article by Tim Clark which appeared on Japan Media Review in 2003:

    [i]Today, 17 percent of Japanese households -- about 8.3 million -- have broadband connections to the Internet. That number is expected to grow rapidly, but the cell phone seems for now to have displaced computer use to some extent, particularly among the young.

    In part, this is due to the highly mobile lifestyle here, where it is not uncommon for children as young as 9 to commute 40 minutes or more by train to school every day. But in key ways, cell phones suit the Japanese mindset and communication style far better than computers.[/i]

    Meanwhile, in South Korea the government has officially instituted the death of the desktop in a program known as the Post PC Era. From an article at http://english.chosun.com/w21data/html/news/200411/200411280034.html

    [i]The email era is coming to an end because replacement communication means such as Internet messengers, mini-homepages (dubbed "one-man media"), and SMS are wielding their power. As a consequence, the stronghold of email, once the favorite of the Internet, is being shaken from its roots.

    The ebbing of email is a phenomenon peculiar to Korea, an IT power. Leading the big change, unprecedented in the world, are our teens and those in their 20's. The perception that "email is an old and formal communication means" is rapidly spreading among them. "I use email when I send messages to elders," said a college student by the name of Park. For 22-year-old office worker Kim, "I use email only for receiving cellphone and credit card invoices."[/i]

    And from the article on Japan Media Review:

    [i]"Younger students in particular tend to feel that they don't need a PC if they have a cell phone. Some even say that if they had enough money to buy their own PC, they would rather upgrade to a better cell phone." --Media strategist Minoru Sugiyama.[/i]

    And, from this ZDnet Website just yesterday:
    [i]In Japan $122.1 mln worth of music is sold through cell phones, $4.8 mln - through PCs.[/i]
    Yen_z
  • Short people

    They got tiny little fingers going click-click-click,
    They got tiny little eyes watching a 1 inch thick,
    They got tiny little minds going "This is SLICK!"

    Don't want no short people round here . . .

    :)
    Roger Ramjet
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