China Mobile chief pushes e-book potential

China Mobile Ltd., the world's largest mobile carrier, is pushing e-reading, seeing it as its next big mobile business, the company's chief executive has said.
Wang Jianzhou, also China Mobile's chairman, called e-reading a "new culture" and said he expects such services to grow in China because of the rising popularity of smart phones, which can download content faster than conventional cell phones.
Wang said China Mobile is also promoting the use of e-readers, a palm-sized unit that allows people to receive large volumes of content on a screen that does not glare into the eyes like cell phones.
The carrier already has 40 million customers who receive news briefs daily with their cell phones.
"That has exceeded the circulation of many newspapers," Wang said at a panel discussion hosted by Taiwan's Business Weekly in Taipei Monday night.
Wang is on a nine-day trip to Taiwan to seek partners and suppliers for its emerging third-generation mobile business.
He signed a memorandum Monday with Taiwan's High Tech Computer Corp. to jointly develop smartphones that will run with its 3G network.
Wang said he has also placed an e-reader order with Taiwan's Foxconn Technology Group, the world's largest contract electronics manufacturer.
Without providing details, Wang said China Mobile will spend at least 120 billion yuan (US$17.5 billion) over the next three years on mobile products, including cell phones, laptops and e-readers.
Taiwanese publishers will be asked to provide content for the company's e-book business, he added.
China currently has 680 million cell phone users and its three main mobile carriers together gain an additional 7 million users each month, Wang said.
"We need to lower cell phone prices so more of our 700 million farmers will have access to the service," he said.

Updated : 2021-04-15 00:11 GMT+08:00