The mobile phone market in China, long thought to be potentially vast, has surpassed Japan as the largest in Asia.
A new study from research firm Dataquest finds that the mobile phone market for Asia/Pacific grew to 170.7 million subscribers in the first quarter of 2000, a 47 percent increase over the same period in 1999.
China had 51.7 million subscribers, surpassing Japan's 51.1 million.
Dataquest says that the Chinese market continues to grow rapidly, but notes the way mobile phones are used varies widely from country to country. Only Korea and Japan share Europe's fascination with new Internet phones, for example.
"In markets like Indonesia and the Philippines, growth has been driven by prepaid services. In Japan and Korea, new Internet services have been the catalyst, whereas in Singapore and China, increased competition has been the prime mover," said Ann Liang, industry analyst for Dataquest's Asia/Pacific cellular phone research, in a statement.