Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Thoughts on mobile and China's restructuring

I won't add to the torrent of coverage of China's decision to restructure its telecoms industry. See Ogilvy's Kaiser Kuo here if you would like to see some comment. The China Daily yesterday also confirmed that the long-delayed launch of China's domestic 3G networks will follow in the wake of the restructuring announcement. China Mobile is deemed to have got the short end of the regulatory stick as, according to the newspaper, it "will be granted a 3G license based on the country’s home-made technology TD-SCDMA, while China Telecom and China Netcom will get theirs based on the WCDMA and CDMA2000 standard respectively".

Just last Thursday, I was posting that the business opportunity of mobile was on my mind and it still is. Interesting then to see Tangos' post over at the China Web 2.0 Review in which he reports on also-ran browser Opera's report on its Opera Mini usage in China. The top 10 sites visited from mobiles (and, using Opera Mini - so not a very representative sample) are, it says:

1. www.sina.com.cn
2. www.baidu.com
3. www.google.cn
4. www.ko.cn
5. news.sohu.com
6. www.xiaonei.com
7. www.3g.cn
8. www.paojiao.com
9. www.188bet.com
10. www.feiku.com

As Tangos notes, this means that web portal content and search account for about 55% of mobile Internet use in China. Neither e-mail nor e-commerce are really showing up the rankings.

That doesn't mean that it's all vertical search and SMS marketing for the B2B world, though. The post goes on to the note that "Two social networking sites are on the list: Ko.cn is a mobile social networking site operated by Kong.net, which is the partner of Opera Mini in China, Xiaonei.com also has quite big mobile user base. Paojiao.com is a website for mobile software information and downloads".

Update: There's a particularly clear description of what's happening over here at David Feng's techblog86.

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