According to People's Daily Online and China Daily, the market for IPTV is expected to take off in China next year as fixed line operators look for ways to grow.
In an interview with China Daily on the sidelines of the ITU Telecom World 2006 in Hong Kong, Huang Dabin, vice-president of the network division of China's No 2 telecom equipment maker ZTE Corp. predicted the number of IPTV subscribers in China could exceed 1 million next year, skyrocketing from the current 100,000 subscribers.
According to the publication, fixed-line operators China Telecom and China Netcom have been aggressively building trial IPTV networks since last year. This year, some commercial IPTV services have been operational in cities such as Shanghai.
The publication continues: China Telecom and China Netcom have been coping with a slowdown in their fixed-line voice businesses. The two firms have been lobbying the government for a licence to enter the lucrative mobile phone sector. But the government has been denying the licenses, forcing the two fixed-line operators to promote Xiaolingtong, or PHS (personal handyphone system), a limited mobility service in the country.
Some interesting China stats, as of this October: There were 93.4 million PHS users, compared to 85.3 million at the end of last year, according to the Ministry of Information Industry (MII). China also had 370 million fixed-line telephone subscribers and 449 million mobile phone subscribers. In addition, the booming Chinese broadband Internet business is giving a boost to the IPTV market there. China had 49.8 million broadband Internet users.