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China’s Mobile Internet Usage: The Who, What, When, Where, & How For 2011

To follow up on yesterday’s numbers, we have some research from Easou, China’s leading mobile Internet search engine, focusing on 2011’s mobile Internet usage.

This piece may look a little daunting, but there are some interesting figures inside if you are up to the task.


During 2011, the average age of Chinese mobile Internet users dropped again.  82% of all mobile Internet users are 30 years old or younger with 58% falling between 18 and 30 years old.

The 18-30 demographic is important because these are the adults with disposable income.  Also, the disparity between male and female mobile Internet users evened out more.  It is expected that females will out number males within 3 years.


The average data plan increased to 50MB a month last year.  50MB is still significantly too low to allow free usage of the internet by many users.  The average user will be forced to either use WiFi primarily or constrict their general Internet usage to stay within this average.

63% of users say they use their mobile device to run internet searches, but overall, entertainment products dominate the data usage by users.

WAP gateways were used to access the mobile Internet 86.8% of time time. Wi-Fi or other access methods were used 22.7% of the time.   Of course, the world’s largest mobile carrier, China Mobile, accounted for 87.17% of the WAP data usage.  China Unicom, currently the only true 3G carrier in China, accounted for 7.3% and China Telecom 5.53%.  GPRS also saw an increase last year.


This one is probably no shocker, but the usage spikes for mobile Internet occur from 12 PM – 1 PM and 6 PM – 11 PM.  During lunch and after work.  Thursday to Sunday is the favorite time to surf.  Finally the first week and a few days before the end of the month are the peak times on a monthly scale.

Again, not overly surprising.  The first week of a month everyone has lots of data free, so they are more willing to use it.  After that, they constrict their usage until the end of the month when they know they aren’t going to run out.

China user accessed the net 11 days out of the month on average, either voluntarily or involuntarily.  26.4% of users were online more than 21 days within a month, 31.9% of users accessed the Internet  between 8 to 21 days, and 25.8% used the Internet less than 3 days per month.


The largest concentration of mobile Internet users are in Guangdong province (15.87%).  Guangdong is followed by Henan, Hebei, Shandong, and Jiangsu.  Each of these provinces contain about 7% of the total users a piece.  Population concentration and early targeting by mobile carriers account primarily for these regions’ active mobile internet users.

Android and iOS users concentrations where highest in Guangdong, Beijing, Shanghai, Jiangsu, and Zhejiang where they accounted for a total 42.5% of iOS users and 49% of Android users.


The Nokia 6120C was the most popular handset used to access the mobile Internet followed by the Nokia 5230 and E63.  iPhones (all models) ranked fourth.

HTC (28.7%) and Samsung (26.5%) made up the majority of the access coming through Android devices.  The Samsung I9100, S5830, and Galaxy were Samsung’s big players while the Desire, Wildfire, and Incredible were HTC’s top representitves.

Domestic Android handsets made up roughly 20% of the usage.  Domestic manufacturers Huawei (8.5%) and ZTE (6.3%) were the most prevalent.  The C8650 from Huawei and the V880 from ZTE were their respective company’s most popular devices.

MediaTek (38.58%) and Symbian (33.32%) were the two leading OS platforms.   Only about 7% of mobile internet users used the high-end Android and iOS platforms.  Price is still a hindering factor in China.

The UCWeb mobile browser was the most widely used mobile browser with 30.37% of the total. UCWeb was followed by Tencent’s QQ Mobile browser (25.43%), the default MTK browser (18.39%), Mozilla (12.23%), and the default Nokia browser (11.83%). At least 11.3% of the remaining users had two or more browsers installed on their handsets.

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