China Mobile is the world's biggest mobile telecoms provider, with a staggering total of 931m subscribers by March 2019. As a result of the rapid expansion of the Chinese market since 2010, more than three-quarters of those customers now take 4G services, compared to none at all in 2013. The main commercial brand used for mobile services is "and!". The group operates through 31 wholly owned regional subsidiaries, each managing services in an individual province of this vast country, linked via a vast network of cellular base stations. China Mobile has strategic alliances with several Western companies including Vodafone and News Corp's Asian broadcast subsidiaries Phoenix and StarTV. It began offering Apple's iPhone to customers for the first time in 2014. It has also established a presence in neighbouring Asian markets including Pakistan, Taiwan and India. The company issued an IPO in 2000, but the Chinese government remains its biggest shareholder with around 73%. Yang Jie is executive chairman. CEO Li Yue stepped down in 2019 after reaching the mandatory retirement age of 60. No replacement has been named. Revenues for 2018 were approx $107bn, but profits remain below past highs as a result of China's slowing economy, and heavy capital investment in network infrastructure. The figure for 2018 was approx $17.1bn. The group dominates the local wireless market with around 63% market share, but main competitors China Unicom and China Telecom, though predominantly fixed line providers, have themselves moved aggressively into 4G services as well in recent years. China Mobile has responded with its own aggressive move into fixed line broadband, signing up almost 167m customers by March 2019. The business was actually created in 1997 from the spin-off of China Telecom's fledgling wireless service as a separate company headquartered in Hong Kong, and its subsequent acquisition of a series of smaller regional mobile providers.
Who are the competitors of China Mobile? See Telecoms Sector
Who handles China Mobile's advertising? Find out more from the Adbrands Account Assignments database
Capsule checked 29th January 2020
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