Wang Jianzhou, chairman and CEO, China Mobile

Nobody in the cellular industry is responsible for providing cellular service to as many customers as China Mobile’s Wang Jianzhou.

Estimates from Informa Telecoms & Media’s WCIS Plus service put the carrier’s subscriber tally at more than 499 million at the end of June 2009. By the time this article is being read, the firm will have more than half a billion customers in China. The firm’s customer base at its fledgling Pakistani operation was approaching seven million at the end of Q2.

Further international expansion by China Mobile has long been expected but has failed to materialise. Wang certainly has the potential to create serious movement in the international investment market and with the ambitions of other emerging market investors in evidence, he may be spurred on.

But principally his influence derives from the sheer scale of his domestic business. The decisions most anticipated elsewhere in the industry centre on what technology selections he makes for high speed cellular networks. While China Mobile has been under pressure to make a go of home-grown standard TD-SCDMA, progress has been painfully slow. It is now widely expected that the carrier could leapfrog the third generation and move straight to LTE. And
at that scale China Mobile alone could create an LTE sector.

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