Mainland set to tap into new mobile markets

PUBLISHED : Friday, 22 June, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 22 June, 2012, 12:00am


The mainland market for so-called connected devices and services is forecast to grow six-fold to US$707 billion by 2020 from US$116 billion this year, boosting efficiency across key domestic industries.

A study jointly released yesterday by consultancy Machina Research and global mobile industry association GSMA said more than half of that market, worth US$393 billion in revenue in 2020, would come from the sale of connected devices and services, including smartphones, media tablets, and so-called machine-to-machine (M2M) connectivity.

The rest of that market in 2020 consists of US$314 billion in estimated cost cuts and service improvements, such as 'smart' meters that eliminate manual meter-reading and remote monitors that let clinics keep tabs on patients with chronic illnesses. 'China is not only the world's largest mobile market, with more than one billion total mobile phone connections, but it is using this to its advantage by creating new applications, products and services that can improve people's daily lives and advance its economy,' GSMA marketing chief Michael O'Hara said.

The association represents the interests of nearly 800 mobile network operators worldwide and more than 200 companies in the broader mobile industry.

'The Chinese government has demonstrated its willingness to introduce innovative M2M technologies,' said Matt Hatton, a director at London-based Machina Research.

M2M technology enables electronic devices, other than mobile phones, to communicate with other devices or systems using the mobile-phone network. Wireless M2M modules and sensors are typically embedded in electronic products such as smart meters and remote monitors, so the devices can use an operator's mobile network to transmit critical information over the internet.

China Mobile and China Unicom, which both work with third-party providers, are among the world's leading proponents of M2M services, according to Machina Research.

'As its economy continues to grow, China is increasingly turning to technological solutions to address some of the challenges caused by this growth, whether it is the use of smart meters to manage electricity demand, or road monitoring solutions to manage congestion caused by growing car ownership,' Hatton said.

Built-in wireless network connectivity in cars would allow a user to remotely monitor and control a car, such as when it is being towed or vandalised. The system could also find the nearest charging station for an electric car. These two areas represent a US$198 billion business for the mainland's car sector in 2020.

The growing use of connected private building security - including alarms, closed-circuit television and intercoms - is forecast to be a market worthUS$62 billion by 2020. Smart metering to monitor power usage will be a US$37 billion market.