Telecom giants tap Internet potential

BY    2013-05-19 07:31:53

  Chinese telecom operators have stepped up their efforts to boost their business through exploring online channels, since more people in the country prefer shopping on the Internet.

  On World Telecommunication and Information Society Day, which fell on Friday, Chinese mobile carriers launched different e-commerce campaigns to attract clients' attentions.

  China Mobile Ltd, the nation's biggest mobile carrier with 726 million subscribers, said that Friday was its first "Online Shopping Day" and offered favorable prices for people topping up accounts, purchasing mobile phones, or registering a telecom service plan.

  The operator, which suffered weak profit growth in the first quarter, said it has also developed an optional package, consisting of diversified telecom services, for customers to build up tailored telecom contracts.

  Xing Hongtao, an official from China Mobile's market operation department, said that the new service was a bit like "going to a cafeteria, looking at the menu and choosing your favorite dishes".

  "Previously, the operators designed the service plans, but now it is up to customers to devise the contracts," he said.

  China Mobile is the first telecom operator in the nation to deliver this kind of service. The company started a pilot of the optional package in 13 provinces in the second half of last year, which more than 8 million customers have signed up to so far.

  On Friday, China Mobile officially rolled out the service across the nation.

  China Mobile's sales from e-commerce channels have grown rapidly in recent years, according to the company.

  By April, China Mobile had sold around 250,000 mobile phones per month on its website, an increase of 30 percent on the figure in January.

  Ma Jingxin, deputy general manager of China Mobile Terminal Co, said in an earlier interview with China Daily that the company aims to sell up to 30 percent of its customized mobile phones through e-commerce channels by 2015.

  China Unicom (Hong Kong) Ltd, the nation's second-biggest telecom carrier, started building its e-commerce channels in 2007.

  The average daily sales on China Unicom's online platform now surpass 150 million yuan ($24.4 million) and its daily user base is more than 10 million, according to Zong Xinhua, general manger of China Unicom's e-commerce department.

  From May 17 to May 23, China Unicom plans to offer 10,000 smartphones at discounts to new telecom service subscribers.

  The growing number of Internet users in China, combined with the public's growing acceptance of e-commerce, is driving online sales of mobile phones.

  "The most important reason for choosing a device online is because mobile phones are cheaper on the Web," said Deng Kuibin, deputy general manager of SINO Market Research Co.

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