Everyone thinks Chinese mobile market is hot, which is kinda of true. By end of 2013, we expect 721millions mobile internet users in China. In tier-1 cities like Beijing, Shanghai, iPhone or Android phone seem everywhere; and hundreds of mobile apps developers are based there releasing apps for iPhone, Android phone daily. All these probably give you one impression, if you want to do mobile business in China, you need to focus on the tier-1 cities.

But the latest report released by DCCI implies that the tier-1 city strategy is not that right. The report is written in Chinese, here are some highlights:

  • the mobile internet users who are ok to pay >rmb100 are mostly based in tier-1 cities; and the amount of rmb 21-50 seems acceptable for users live in tier-3 and smaller cities;
  • Despite there are thousands of apps on all sorts of markets, the average number of apps Chinese users use often is 3-5;
  • 80% of users in tier-1 cities love to use mobile internet when sitting in transportation; but 80% of users in tier-5/tier-6 cities like using mobile internet at home;
  • Tier-1 cities users actually spend less time on mobile internet. The major group of users spending more than 28h on mobile internet per week is actually from tier-5/tier-6 cities, according to DCCI; Tier-1 cities users usually spend only 3-8h on mobile internet per week;
  • The top 3 most interesting info tier-1 cities user want are: Discount information, restaurant information and Map;
  • The users live outside tier-1 cities actually consume more bandwidth. ~22% of tier5/tier-6 cities users use 81-150M bandwidth per month, and only ~17% tier-1 cities users use that much;
  • In tier-1 cities, users actually get used to Wifi access from home, cafe etc, which might explain why they are using less mobile bandwidth; but for tier-5/tier-6 cities users, over 50% still has no idea about Wifi;
  • Talking about the 3G usage, most of 3G users actually live in tier-3/tier-4 cities which DCCI thinks the most potential market;
  • The tariff and phone price are still the hurdle for users not willing to use 3G network;
  • Reading news, instant messaging and searching are the top 3 activities for Chinese mobile internet users;
  • The top 10 categories of apps people are using often are: mobile browsers, IM, video players, games, life & entertainment, e-readers, input softwares, sms, weibo and anti-virus softwares;

Tier-1 city users have better salary which is good, but it does not mean most of them are willing to pay more, and they are also busy and have more distraction. Hope the points above can give you some useful guidance on how to do mobile business in China.

Dr. Gang Lu - Founder of TechNode. He's a Blogger, a Geek, a PhD and a Speaker, with passion in Tech, Internet and R'N'R.

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