Chi­naMo­bile: In­ter­net-of-things sales to hit $15b

China Daily (Canada) - - LIFE - By MASI in Shanghai masi@chi­nadaily.com.cn

China Mobile Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Corp, the world's largest tele­com car­rier by sub­scribers, aims to grow its in­ter­net-of-things rev­enue to 100 bil­lion yuan ($15 bil­lion) by 2020, as tech­no­log­i­cal ad­vances make it pos­si­ble to put home ap­pli­ances, ve­hi­cles, shoes and other items on­line, a com­pany ex­ec­u­tive said.

Li Yue, CEO of China Mobile, said on Wed­nes­day that IoT will be one of its most im­por­tant growth driv­ers as the State-owned com­pany is trans­form­ing from a wire­less op­er­a­tor to a digital ser­vice provider.

With about 1.3 mil­lion 4G base sta­tions across the coun­try, China Mobile op­er­ates the world’s largest 4G net­work. As ofMay, the com­pany has more than 400 mil­lion 4G sub­scribers, more than that of smaller ri­vals China United Telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions Corp Ltd and Telec o m m u n ica t ions Cor­po­ra­tion com­bined. But, the com­pany is search­ing for new rev­enue sources, af­ter in­ter­net-based mes­sag­ing ser­vices have eaten into the com­pany’s once-lu­cra­tive voice calls and text busi­ness.

“If ev­ery­one can link 10 items on­line, China will have at least 10 bil­lion in­ter­neten­abled con­nec­tions by 2020. This is a huge op­por­tu­nity,” Li said at the 2016 World Mobile Congress Shanghai.

The com­pany is try­ing to add some5Gtech­nol­ogy into the 4G net­works and it is step­ping up ef­forts to re­al­ize the com­mer­cial ap­pli­ca­tion of 5G by 2020.

Qiao Hui, deputy gen­eral man­ager of China Mobile’s IoT branch, said the tele­com gi­ant is ex­pected to con­nect 5 bil­lion items by 2020, which will gen­er­ate 100 bil­lion yuan in rev­enue.

China’s con­sumer-level in­for­ma­tion mar­ket is ex­pected to hit 5.5 tril­lion yuan by 2020, with an an­nual growth rate of 13 per­cent over the next five years, Chi­naMo­bile fore­casts.

Xiang Li­gang, a Bei­jing­based ex­pert and founder of in­dus­try web­site cc­time.com, said: “China Mobile’s huge 4G pres­ence and its cut­ting-edge 5G re­search will give the com­pany an edge in cap­i­tal­iz­ing on IoT.”

“But in­stead of de­vel­op­ing all the prod­ucts it­self, the com­pany should co­op­er­ate with more smart hard­ware mak­ers to build an ecosys­tem,” Xiang said.

Other Chi­nese tele­com op­er­a­tors are also rush­ing to pounce at new tech­nolo­gies to grow busi­ness.

Yang Jie, chair­man of China Tele­com, China’s third­largest mobile provider, said in his first pub­lic speech af­ter tak­ing the helm, that the com­pany will fo­cus on lever­ag­ing ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence and big data to of­fer smarter tele­com ser­vices. The strat­egy is quite dif­fer­ent from that of China Mobile, which places more em­pha­sis on build­ing up user base, an­a­lysts said.

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