We knew it was coming, but now China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology says that it is here: China has broken a billion mobile phone users. According to MIIT statistics, China gained 43 million new mobile users over the first quarter of this year, putting the total number of users at about 1,030,052,000.
Of course, the mobile phone’s gain is a loss for the regular phone, and China’s hard-line phone user numbers dropped by more than a million over the first four months of 2012, putting the total number of wired phone users at about 283,758,000.
But telecom operators probably aren’t too upset about the loss of wired phone users, because the industry’s total business has grown 14.8% compared to Q1 2011. In total, the industry did more than 419 billion RMB ($66 billion) in business this quarter.
Anyway, while most of those billion mobile phone users are still on feature phones, mobile app developers should get coding right now. The plethora of cheap smartphones China’s likely to see over the next few years (like this one, or this one, or this one, or this one) means that China may well experience a corresponding explosion in smartphone users (whose numbers are already climbing rapidly anyway).