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Study: Chinese access Internet more through mobile phones than computers

By Agence France-Presse
Thursday, July 19, 2012 12:44 EDT
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Samsung and Apple have captured more than half the global market for smartphones and over 90 percent of its profits, a research firm said Friday. ABI Research said global smartphone shipments grew 41 percent year-over-year to 144.6 million in the first quarter of 2012. Samsung and Apple accounted for 55 percent of smartphone shipments and more than 90 percent of the market's profits, the report said. ABI said Samsung delivered 43 million units in the quarter, to 35 million for Apple. Nokia was third with 11.9 million and BlackBerry maker Research in Motion just behind with 11.1 million. Of the top 10 smartphone makers, only Samsung and Sony saw sequential growth from the fourth quarter, which is traditionally strong, the report said. "Nokia witnessed a 40 percent sequential decline in shipments and may soon be passed by ailing RIM in shipments despite the BlackBerry maker's 20 percent sequential drop. Nokia recently began working with Microsoft on a Windows-based smartphone, dropping its own powered by Symbian. "At this point in the year, Nokia will have to grow its Windows Phone business 5,000 percent in 2012 just to offset its declines in Symbian shipments," says Michael Morgan, an ABI analyst. The report said major markets like North America and Western Europe are nearing or passing the mark of 50 percent penetration for smartphones, meaning much of the growth will come from emerging markets like China, "which continues to show strong shipment growth of over 80," ABI said. A report last month by Gartner said 419.1 million mobile phones were bought worldwide during the quarter in a two percent decline from the same period a year earlier. It was the first quarterly decline since early in 2009.
 
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Mobile phones have overtaken computers as the most popular device for getting online in China, the government said Thursday, as it announced the number of web users had hit 538 million.

China has the world’s biggest online population, with nearly four out of 10 of its 1.3 billion people now using the web, according to a report from the state-linked China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC).

Until this year, a majority of Chinese web users accessed the Internet via computers.

But smartphones have allowed more and more rural Chinese to go online in areas not covered by fixed-line networks, the report said. Nearly 52 percent of users who started to use the Internet this year are from the countryside.

“Mobile phones are a cheaper and more convenient way to access the Internet for (residents in) China’s vast rural areas and for the enormous migrant population,” said the report.

The number of people using mobile phones to go online rose to 388 million in the first half of this year, up 9.2 percent from the end of 2011, while 380 million used computers.

“Smartphones are more and more powerful and there is a new wave of mobile application innovation,” the report said.

“Meanwhile, mobile phone prices continued to drop — the emergence of smartphones under 1,000 yuan ($157) sharply lowered the threshold for using the devices and encouraged average mobile phone users to become mobile web surfers.”

The 538 million people online in China was an increase of around five percent from the end of last year.

By the end of June, more than half of China’s Internet population — or 274 million — used weibos, microblogging services similar to Twitter, which is banned in China.

Beijing regularly blocks Internet postings it deems sensitive under a vast online censorship system known as the Great Firewall of China.

Nonetheless, weibos have become the most popular medium for web users to vent their anger over corruption, scandals and disasters, or alert others about protests or riots.

This prompted Chinese authorities to announce plans last month to tighten control of the services, including making their users register under their real names.

Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse
AFP journalists cover wars, conflicts, politics, science, health, the environment, technology, fashion, entertainment, the offbeat, sports and a whole lot more in text, photographs, video, graphics and online.
 
 
 
 
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