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One-third of urbanites own smartphones

(China Daily)

16:32, June 07, 2012

One-third of Chinese urban dwellers own a smartphone, and 67 percent of them surf the Web with the device every day, according to a survey by Google Inc and research company Ipsos.

And it found that 97 percent of urbanites owning smartphones have researched a product or service on their device, the second-highest figure in the world after Japan.

A total of 24,000 people from 26 countries and regions were questioned in the survey.

"Mobile is very much about right now. Mobile is no longer in the future," said Jason Spero, head of global mobile sales and strategy at Google.

The survey revealed that 59 percent of urban Chinese smartphone owners have purchased a product or a service with their device, and more than half think they will shop more frequently with smartphones in the future.

However, mobile shopping still has to catch on among China's urban residents, with 60 percent of them preferring to do online shopping with their PCs rather than smartphones.

Robin Li, chairman and chief executive officer of search engine Baidu Inc, said last week that payment via mobile phones hasn't developed well, and therefore hinders people’s ability to do mobile shopping.

The increasing usage of different services on smartphones comes as sales of the devices have surged, partly because the construction of a 3G network in China has encouraged people to purchase mobile phones with improved functions.

Smartphone shipments in China are expected to surpass those of feature phones — devices with more functions than standard mobile phones — in China next year, according to research company International Data Corp.

It estimated that feature phone shipments will only exceed those of smartphones by 8 million this year, out of total shipments of 280 million.

Mobile phone makers from home and abroad are stepping up their efforts to get a share of the huge Chinese market.

Samsung Electronics Co Ltd, the world's biggest smartphone vendor by shipments, introduced the Galaxy S3, its latest flagship smartphone, to China on Wednesday.

The handset, which boasts a series of new functions, is one of a very few smartphone models to challenge Apple Inc's iPhone 4S.

The 4,999 yuan ($793) smartphone will support all of the 3G telecommunication technologies in China, the company said.

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