Chinese youth take mobile web lead

28 January 2011

HONG KONG: China is the world's top-ranked nation for youth mobile internet usage, according to new analysis from Nielsen.

The global poll shows that 84% of young (15 to 24-year-old) Chinese subscribers access web browsers and online applications via their smartphone, ahead of their US counterparts on 83% and Russia on 71%.

Overall, 73% of all young Chinese "advanced data users" use mobile internet, suggesting that mobile is more widespread than fixed-line, PC-based web use.

This is likely due to the fact that China's mobile network infrastructure is comparatively more advanced than fixed-line.

"Not only [do] many homes in China [not] have landlines for voice communications, they also don't have a hardwired Internet access for their fix of the Web," the report claimed.

"When [young Chinese] think of the World Wide Web, they don't think of tethering themselves to a desktop PC or anything else."

But high youth adoption of mobile internet is not reflected by older compatriots, with just 47% of Chinese subscribers aged 25 or more going online via their phones.

Overall smartphone ownership is also comparatively low, covering just 29% of the nation's youth mobile audience.

The remainder (71%) owns a "feature phone" with no online capabilities.

Of all the countries measured by the report, smartphone ownership was highest in Italy (47%), Spain (38%) and the UK (36%).

Data sourced from Nielsen; additional content by Warc staff