China Mobile profits up despite stiff competition

Young Chinese woman using her mobile phone China's mobile phone companies are racing to meet data demand

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China Mobile, the world's biggest phone company, has said profits rose more than expected in the first half of 2013 from last year .

Profits rose 1.5% to 63.1bn yuan ($10.3bn, £6.6bn) in the six months to June, with the results buoyed by a strong rise in wireless data revenue.

But it said competition from its fellow state-owned rivals remained stiff amid slower economic growth.

Operating revenue rose 10% to 303.1bn yuan.

The company said its subscriber base rose by around 30 million to 740 million users at the end of 2012.

China Mobile and its two state-owned competitors, China Unicom and China Telecom, are investing heavily in fourth-generation networks to keep up with a growing demand for data, fuelled by the increased use of smartphones and tablets.

China Mobile chairman Xi Guohua said the firm "faced a number of challenges", including slower economic growth and increased competition from the wider information and communications industry.

But he said the company was making good progress in the commercialisation of its 4G network technology, called TD-LTE.

It rolled out a trial 4G network in 15 cities in 2012 and plans to expand that to 100 cities this year.

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