Music on mobiles found to be a favorite in China

BARCELONA (Reuters) - More than a third of mobile phone owners in China, the world’s largest mobile market, use their handsets to listen to music, more than in Britain or the United States, a study showed.

A visitor listens to music on a mobile phone at the 41st MIDEM music market in Cannes, south-eastern France, in this file photo from January 22, 2007. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard

Some 34.8 percent reported they listened to mobile music every month compared with 20 percent in Spain, 18.9 percent in Britain and 5.7 percent in the United States, according to M:Metrics, a research firm that monitors mobile media usage.

M:Metrics, which was founded in 2004, collects data from France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States.

The December benchmark study on Chinese usage was the first of its kind, the company said.

It surveyed 5,163 Chinese mobile subscribers aged 13-54 via telephone in seven major cities: Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenyang, Chengdu, Wuhan and Xi’an.

Compared with users in the United States and Europe, Chinese consumers use their phones much less to check on their email or to send photos and videos.

Over 30 percent in Italy, Spain and Britain use their phones to send or receive photos and videos, and only half as many do so in China.

Users in the United States lead the poll in email usage with 11.6 percent compared with nine percent in Spain and Britain, but only 2.5 percent in China.

The firm also found that while some 30 percent of those polled owned Nokia handsets, giving the company a substantial lead in the Chinese market, owners of Sony Ericsson handsets were a driving force in using mobile media.

M:Metrics said global handset brands such as Motorola, Nokia and Samsung significantly surpassed native brands such as China Mobile in terms of being used to get mobile content.

“These companies are well positioned in a market where operators are seeking to grow mobile content in preparation for the rollout of 3G networks,” the company said.

China is expected to issue 3G licenses before the Olympics this year, but some predict licenses will not be handed out until 2009, as kinks in its homegrown 3G standard, TD-SCDMA, are smoothed out.

Just like in the European and U.S. markets, 18-34 year-olds are the biggest consumers of mobile content in China, accounting for 64.6 percent of those who accessed news and information via their mobile browser, M:Metrics said.

Editing by Tomasz Janowski