China's telecommunications sector climbed 8% last year to hit 1.47 trillion yuan ($232.41 billion) in revenue. Its internet services industry also saw growth, expanding 21.2% to reach 1.55 trillion yuan ($245.06 billion) in revenue.
Enterprise demand for new digital services, such as cloud computing, big data, and data centres were the biggest drivers that fuelled the Chinese telecom market, according to the country's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT).
Revenue from these digital services grew 27.8% and accounted for 44.5% of the industry's overall revenue growth, the ministry said.
It added that the 8% year-on-year growth was higher than the 4.1% growth rate clocked in 2020. Revenue from fixed line, data, and internet services contributed 61.5% of the total industry.
Pointing to China's push for new infrastructures, specifically 5G networks, the MIIT said the country had rolled out some 1.43 million 5G base stations by end-2021. These accounted for more than 60% of the global figure, it said.
It also noted that more than 300 Chinese cities had begun building gigabit optic fibre networks, adding that investments in internet broadband access climbed 40% year-on-year in 2021.
China's internet and related services market also saw robust growth, expanding 21.2% to reach 1.55 trillion yuan ($245.06 billion) in revenue, according to MIIT.
Businesses in the local sector registered 132 billion yuan ($20.87 billion) in profits, clocking a 13.3% year-on-year growth, reported state-owned news agency Xinhua, citing stats from the ministry.
These organisations also spent 5% more on research and development (R&D) last year, forking out 75.42 billion yuan ($11.92 billion). MIIT's figures include Chinese businesses that register at least 5 million yuan ($790,500) in revenue from internet services.
Organisations that drew the same amount in revenue from China's software and IT industry also saw growth last year, the ministry said, noting that there were more than 40,000 such companies in the sector.
In particular, the IT services market expanded by 20% year-on-year to register 6 trillion yuan ($948.6 billion) in revenue.
Software vendors saw their combined profits climb 7.6% to almost 1.19 trillion yuan ($188.14 billion) in 2021, MIIT said.
It revealed that China's software exports tipped $52.1 billion last year, up 8.8% year-on-year.