China is not experiencing the success that it should from its smartphone consumers.
As the largest smartphone marketplace in the world, it is easy to expect that mobile marketing should be taking off in China more than any other nation, but this is not the case.
Government Statistics have shown that there are over one billion cell phone users in the country this year.
Moreover Chinese consumers use their devices heavily. They are not simply seen as modes of communication, but are also used for product research, price comparison, shopping, and social networking, and other purposes.
That said, mobile marketing is not achieving the results that are expected of it.
Data from the China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC) has shown that there are currently 356 million mobile internet users in the country, and that 69 percent of the internet using population use their smartphones or tablets in order to access the online world. By the close of 2012, there will be up to 250 million 3G subscribers in that country alone. This is a massive increase over the end of 2011, when there were 127.5 million 3G subscribers.
Still, mobile marketing firms are not embracing the Chinese marketplace as a place to build brands. According to statistics from eMarketer, the channel’s ad spending share in the country is only about 1.5 percent.
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When considering the size of the smartphone and tablet using population in the country and the amount of time that consumers spend using these devices for making shopping decisions and the purchases, themselves, there is a notable gap between the available opportunity and the amount of potential that is actually being used.
According to the chief operating officer Dan Wong, of leading Chinese mobile ad network, Madhouse – and former senior exec at Nokia China – there is “A very big disconnect” present between the mobile marketing industry and what advertisers are actually doing. He added that “Almost all the metrics you look at, [such as] user numbers, traffic, cost ROIs, it would seem to you that most advertisers would use a lot more mobile as a marketing channel.”
Wong said that the future in that country belongs to smartphones, and mobile marketing should be a central part of that.