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From hand-written letters to video chats, tech-driven communication takes off in China

(People's Daily Overseas New Media)    16:01, January 09, 2019

Hand-written letters carry the deepest feelings and transmit important cultural information. In Chinese culture, many ancient poems recorded the joyous or saddening moments of receiving letters from afar. Nowadays, the pleasure of reading a letter has been upgraded with the advancements in communication technology.

Before the start of reform and opening-up, letters and telegraphs dominated China’s communication market. Statistics show that in 1978, there were only 3.59 million telephones in China and the number of people who used them was only 2.14 million, a penetration rate of less than 1 percent.

On September 14, 1987, the first email was delivered from China to Germany, which ushered in the internet era for the Chinese people with an inspiring line of text that read: “Across the Great Wall we can reach every corner in the world.”

Roughly three decades later, as of June 2018, the total number of fixed broadband access users in China reached 378 million, of which fiber access users reached 328 million, accounting for 87.5% of the total number of broadband users and ranking first in the world.

With the greater choices of telecommunication services that became available in the 1990s, pagers and handheld cellular mobile phones became fashion signs for the relatively better-off portion of society.

Over time, mobile phones became more and more accessible to more and more people across the country, starting with simple phones to the more modern ones of today, becoming a multi-million-dollar market that sees constant grapples from domestic and international phone makers such as Huawei and Apple.

Behind the popularity of smartphones are various messaging apps that not only provide face-to-face, real-time communication, but also cover nearly every aspect of life. It is the nation’s telecommunication technology that has laid a foundation for future growth and it has fastened its pace of latest generation communication technologies.

After serving the nation with 2G technology for over 20 years, China launched 3G technology in 2008 and 4G came in 2013, while the latest 5G technology is scheduled for commercialization by mid-2019.

As of November 2018, the total size of 4G base stations in China exceeded 3.4 million, and the number of 4G users reached 1.11 billion, with the penetration rate of 4G users among the top five rankings in the world.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Jiang Jie, Bianji)

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