China leading global M2M market with specialised offerings

China has already emerged as the global leader in the adoption of M2M (machine to machine) technology, with over 50 million connections, or more than one quarter of the total M2M market, in 2013.

The statistics come from a report issued Monday by trade association the GSMA, which found that close collaboration between the country’s leading mobile operators: China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom, state-owned enterprises and the government, has enabled the market to grow dramatically in a relatively short period of time, laying the foundations for further expansion and accelerated development of the Internet of Things (IoT).

Key to this growth is the revelation that China’s leading mobile operators have developed sophisticated M2M service propositions that go beyond the provision of basic connectivity, typically combining a generic horizontal platform, designed to work across all industry sectors with dedicated vertical platforms for specific application areas, such as automotive or healthcare.

All three Chinese operators have stressed the importance of working with partners to create technological and commercial platforms that can nurture an innovative M2M ecosystem.

Asia is the largest regional M2M market, accounting for 40 per cent of the world’s 189 million M2M connections at the end of 2013, according to the GSMA. The region added 55 million M2M net connections between 2010 and 2013 and China was the primary driver of growth, adding nearly 39 million M2M connections during the period. Demand from the energy and transportation industries has driven much of this early growth, while M2M solutions are also gaining traction in the automotive, smart city, healthcare, education and retail sectors.

“China is a rapidly developing country that is investing in communications technologies that will make its cities smarter and provide a better quality of life for its citizens,” said Alex Sinclair, Chief Technology Officer at the GSMA. “Proactive government support has benefited China and its mobile operators, whereas in many global markets, regulatory uncertainty has held back the deployment of M2M solutions. The addressable market and the opportunity for further growth is immense, especially when one considers the sheer number of ‘things’ such as cars or domestic appliances that could potentially be connected by mobile.”

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