China’s 3G Subscribers Grow 83% and Reach a Total of 233M
The number of mobile 3G subscribers in China continues to grow exponentially as it surged 83% in 2013, underscoring the importance of the country to potential growth for Apple’s iPhone. At the end of 2012, China had 233 million 3G subscribers according to analyst Brian White of Topeka Capital Markets. The number was up from 127.5 million at the end of 2011, quite a jump.
The mobile market in China gained 11.8 million 3G subscribers in the month of December in 2012 alone. As of right now, 3G subscribers represent 21% of China’s wireless subscribers, up from a mere 13.1% a year prior. Still, White noted that 3G adoption in China remains low compared to the developed world. As a result, White sees “significant growth opportunities” for mobile companies, including Apple.
White projects that China will have between 325 and 350 million 3G subscribers by the end of the year. The Chinese market seems to be a major focus for Apple CEO, Tim Cook. Last year’s iPhone 5 launch saw the fastest global rollout ever for a new Apple handset and iPhone 5 launch sales in China ended up topping 2 million in its first weekend of availability in December. Apple’s potential growth is expected to grow even more once the company inks a deal with China Mobile – the largest carrier in the world, and the last major Chinese carrier to not offer the iPhone. White expects that Apple will be finalizing a deal with China Mobile later this year. Cook himself met with China Mobile executives in a recent trip, in which the two sides supposedly discussed “matters of cooperation.”