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32m mobile video users in China by 2008 – Analyst

The mobile video market in China will take off in 2008, driven by interest in the Beijing Olympics according to a new study from ABI Research.

The analyst firm predicts that total mobile video users in China will number 32 million by 2008, with about 27 per cent of them using broadcasting technology. The remaining 73 per cent will use unicast streaming technology, while a number of viewers are likely to use both, the analyst said.

In 2006, SARFT, the Chinese State Administration of Radio, Film, and Television, announced two handset-related standards. According to the analyst firm, DAB is likely to be the first phase of mobile multimedia broadcasting standards development in China. DAB paves the way for upgrading to China’s proposed mobile multimedia broadcasting standard, T-DMB, a terrestrial implementation of SK Telecom’s mobile video format.

Because both standards are voluntary, there are questions surrounding their effect in the market. ABI research director Jake Saunders, said: “It is likely that local media groups and TV stations will deploy DAB initially, and implement T-DMB at a later date. The Chinese government will give preference to a standard that will be used in the 2008 Olympics, and DAB has been listed as one of the broadcast services that will be available at the Beijing Games.”

Saunders explained that while content for mobile is still perceived as a problem, it will be solved in the next two years. “The current content shortage is caused by the limited number of handset TV SP licenses. When more companies obtain licenses, competition will become the lubricant to drive up the market.”

In Hong Kong, mobile operators are active in mobile video streaming. Their international operations backgrounds allow them to provide diversified content to users. PCCW’s experience in operating its IPTV business will boost its performance in the 3G market. ABI Research forecasts approximately 715,000 mobile video users in Hong Kong in 2008, of which 99 per cent will be streaming users.

In Taiwan, ABI Research forecasts that there will be over 1.5 million mobile video users in 2008, with 97 per cent receiving content via streaming.

Mobile video in China is available from ABI


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