China Mobile Subscribers Sent 607 Billion SMSs Last Year

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Chinese mobile phone users love text messaging, reading mobile newspapers and downloading songs, according to figures from China Mobile.

China Mobile is a window into the behavior of Chinese cell phone users because it boasts more mobile subscribers than most nations have people. As of the end of January, the company reported 463.92 million subscribers, by far the largest service provider in a nation with around 650 million mobile phone users and a population double that figure.

China Mobile subscribers sent 607.1 billion SMSs last year, up by over 100 billion from the previous year, it said in its annual report for 2008.

The subscribers also downloaded more than 76 million full music tracks. The company breaks the figures out because it also sells ringtones.

Users have 1 million songs to choose from.

Mobile newspapers appear to be catching on in China. The company reported that 41.49 million subscribers paid for mobile papers as of the end of last year, up by over a third compared to 2007. There are 110 mobile papers on offer.

China Mobile's instant messaging software, Fetion, also gained more users.

The company says Fetion is now the second largest instant messenger in China, at 146.91 million users, but did not have third party statistics to support that claim. Still, even at its numbers, Fetion remains far behind market leader QQ, which reportedly boasts over 500 million users.

The number of Fetion users doubled in 2008 over the previous year. China Mobile offers a version of the IM for computers and another for mobile phones.

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