Market saturation driving the 5G shiftAfter a decade of mobile economy boom, China’s mobile internet user growth has been slowing in recent few years. Meanwhile, 4G mobile network is reaching its peak, propelling the country to step up its 5G adoption. Currently, over 350 Chinese cities have 5G availability, leaving the United Sates behind by a wide margin. The rapid 5G transition is also happening on the consumption end, with the number of 5G end users reaching 450 million as of the end of 2021. By 2025, 5G will account for 47 percent of the total connections with 1.28 billion users.
The emerging internet user groupsWhen it comes to consumer segmentations, the lower-tier and ‘silver hair’ markets have become increasingly important in driving China’s digital economy growth. As of September 2022, almost three in every five mobile internet users lived in tier-3 cities and below, the country’s less-developed area. Compared with their metropolitan peers, lower-tier consumers tend to have less financial pressure and more time to enjoy their life. They are more active in social networking, mobile shopping, and video streaming.
Along with the rising aging population, the number of internet users aged 60 years or above are gradually growing in China and will reach 100 million by 2025. Despite being less active online, Chinese senior netizens have become more tech-savvy. That means there is a huge untapped potential in mobile internet segments, especially e-commerce and short videos.