Sunday, April 23, 2006

Baidu Predicts Mobile Phone Will Bring More Online

April 23, China Internet's future will be relied on the mobile phone users. Baidu's CEO Robin Li made the prediction at the Asian Forum held in Boao, Hainan province.

Speaking at the subsession of "The Future of China Internet", Li said that, in the US, internet users outnumbered wireless users. In other Asian countries, such as Japan and Korea, the numbers of internet users and mobile phone users are very close. However, in China, mobile phone users outnumbered internet users by 3.8 to 1. It is a big oppertunity as well as a big challenge. Before the Olympic Games in 2008, 3G technology will be available in China. Mobile phones will be able to access internet without capacity constrains.

He estimated that in the next 2-3 years, wireless internet will add 100 perhaps even 200 million internet users. "Mobile users will be able to enjoy all the online services by that time. The prospect is reallly exciting."

According to Ministry of Information Industries, number of mobile users in China has surpassed 400 million. But the number of internet users is only about 100 million, though ranked number two in the world only after the US.

Asad Jamal, CEO of Draper Fisher Jurveston Ventures said that, China is already the country with fastest internet growth. China owns large number of mobile users. Further development in the mobile communications area to connect with internet will boost number of internet users. He predicts that the number will grow about 16% annually and could reach 230 million by year 2010.

He said that, the connection between mobile communication and internet is very important for China. Since so many users in both, the connection could help better development of 3G technology. The future of 3G in China is very bright. The expansion of online functions will gradually replace traditional communications.

Li indicated that, though many people thinks the web development in China has been very fast, "personally, I think the speed is still not satisfying".

According to data sources, the coverage of internet access in China is still only 8% nationwide though some mature markets have reached 60%. Baidu is an internet search service provider and a public traded company on Nasdaq. The shares rose a 325% on it's IPO day. Robin Li said that, from the point view of market values, there is still a big ditance from other countries. For example, the total value of 7 public traded Chinese internet company is only $13 billion, while the largest internet company in Japan alone is traded at $50 billion dollars.

Source: Huang Fuhui and Yanhao from


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