China, the world’s largest mobile market, was home to 630 million unique mobile subscribers at the end of 2013, representing about 46% of the country’s population, according to a report by mobile Internet organization the GSM Association.
There were 1.13 billion active mobile connections in China at the end of 2013, which means millions of Chinese subscribers use more than one SIM card or device. There were 1.79 SIM cards per unique subscriber in China at the end of 2013.
Sixty-nine percent of Chinese mobile internet subscribers accessed internet services via mobile broadband networks, such as 3G or 4G services, with the remainder using 2G, according to the report. Chinese mobile operators are driving mobile internet usage by introducing a growing range of affordable mobile broadband tariffs and subsidized devices.
The broader Asia Pacific region now accounts for half of the world’s mobile subscribers and will remain one of the world’s fastest growing mobile markets through 2020 and beyond, says the report.
There were 1.7 billion unique mobile subscribers in the Asia Pacific region at the end of 2013, accounting for half of the 3.4 billion global subscriber base. The number of Asia Pacific subscribers is expected to grow by 5.5% a year until 2020, reaching 2.4 billion. Only Sub-Saharan African is expected to grow at a faster rate during the period.
With 1.7 billion mobile customers in Asia Pacific, subscriber penetration at the end of 2013 was 43% compared to a global average of around 50%. Subscriber penetration is above 90% of the population in markets such as Japan and below 15% in markets such as Myanmar, further underscoring the diverse nature of the region.
Total mobile connections in Asia Pacific stood at 3.4 billion at the end of 2013 and are forecast to increase to 4.8 billion by 2020.