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China: the mobile revolution
China’s mobile internet market is growing rapidly and showing no signs of slowing. According to CNNIC (China Internet Network Information Center), by the end of December 2012, China's netizens1 reached 564 million, of which 420 million were mobile internet users2 accounting for 75% of the total.
Not only is the number of mobile internet users expanding, but also mobile internet usage frequency is growing. According to CNRS-TGI, in 2012, the percentage of those who accessed the mobile internet at least once per day reached 71%, an increase of 11 percentage points over 2011 (Figure 1). Demographically, China’s mobile internet users are mainly comprised of people born in the 80s. This group of 23-32 year olds accounts for 45% of all mobile internet users. In addition to this, 62% of mobile internet users received a college degree
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1 Netizen: accessed internet in last year. 2 Mobile internet users: accessed mobile internet via mobile phone in past year.

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Author: Shen Ying General Manager of CTR Media & Consumption Behavior, CNRS China

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China: the mobile revolution
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or above. Geographically, the 38% penetration of mobile internet users in Tier One cities (Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen) is the highest across the Chinese city tiers.

Figure 1: Frequency of accessing the mobile internet – at least once per day (%)

Base:

Mobile internet users

Source: CNRS-TGI 2008-2012 (Jan-Dec) 36 cities

A social generation
When asked about their favorite activities on mobile internet, 59% of mobile internet users answered chat/dating. Additionally 43% of mobile internet users agree that "I often use social media to communicate with net friends". It is clear that social media has become a well-established habit of internet users. By the end of 2012, mobile Weibo3 users reached 202 million, accounting for 66% of all Weibo users.

3 Weibo is the primary social networking site in China with similar functions to Twitter.

Figure 2: Chinese websites visited yesterday (%)

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Base:

Population age 15-69

Source: CNRS-TGI 2012 (Jan-Dec) 60 cities

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Social networking is an important part of people’s daily life in China. Interacting with friends through social media during their increasingly fragmented available time serves to strengthen relations with friends, facilitate the exchange of the latest news and is also used as a means of relaxation to reduce stress from work.

Mobile commuters
On average, Chinese city residents spent 54 minutes per day accessing the internet on a mobile device in 2012, and to a large extent the fast development of mobile internet has benefited from the establishment of the 'travelling' lifestyle. With ever-lengthening commute times, worsening traffic and proliferation of business travel, 'being on the road' has gradually become a way of life for many of the Chinese population, particularly for those living in the metropolis. Mobile internet provides entertainment in an increasingly fragmented day.

Figure 3: Commute time in Tier One* (minutes)

Mobile internet access by commute time in 2012 (%)

* Tier One cities: Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen

Base: Full-time employees in tier one Source: CNRS-TGI 2010-2012 (Jan-Dec) 36 cities

Base: General city residents Source: CNRS-TGI 2010-2012 (Jan-Dec) 36 cities

Interestingly, the longer the travel to work time, the higher the penetration of mobile internet. In 2012, those whose commute time was longer than one hour were three times as likely as to access mobile internet as those whose commute time was within 30 minutes.

High-tech mobile enthusiasts
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CNRS-TGI data reveals that mobile internet users are much keener on high-tech products than the general city residents in China. Laptop ownership amongst mobile internet users stands at 59%, which is 19% higher than that of the total population. Mobile internet users are very interested in new products as 57% of them agree they are "often the first to buy new products", compared to 45% overall. Also 58% of mobile internet users agree they are
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"trying to keep up with developments in technology", which is higher than the average of 51% amongst all adults. As mobile internet users tend to be young, it's possible that they are attracted by fast renewal high-tech products for their novelty, fashionable design and personality.

Figure 4: Digital products ownership (%)

Base:

Population age 15-69

Source: CNRS-TGI 2012 (Jan-Dec) 60 cities

The rapid increase in mobile internet usage in China is largely being driven by the desire for social networking and the fragmentation of ‘social’ time created by longer commutes. CNRS-TGI can offer a unique 360° understanding of this target group in China, helping you to understand where social media fits into the consumers broader lifestyle. A thorough understanding of this group is an essential basis on which to develop a coherent digital communication strategy.

For more information, contact Global TGI at enquiries@globaltgi.com or visit www.globaltgi.com

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