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Mobile internet access increased by 36% in the US last year, but the number of Americans (18 million, ages 13+) who connect to the mobile web is still relatively low compared with the 100 million users who connect via mobile in China, according to a recent report from Netpop.

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The Netpop | Pocket report, “”Growing the Mobile Marketplace,” examined mobile web markets in both the US and China, and found that? China is not only a much larger mobile web market, but the Chinese also are much more active mobile web users and spenders.

The report uncovered several key differences between mobile web users in China and the US:

  • 28% of Chinese own two or more mobile devices, compared with just 18% of Americans.

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  • Chinese access more services and activities on the mobile web, including email, news, games, local information and financial accounts. Americans and Chinese differ in the top services they use and the frequency of use. For Americans, the top three services on the mobile web are e-mail, texting and weather.? For Chinese, they are news, texting and instant messaging (IM).

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  • 58% of Chinese mobile web users post Web 2.0 content via their mobile devices, compared with 41% of those in the US.
  • 64% of Chinese mobile web users purchased premium mobile web content in the last year, compared with 36% of US mobile web users
  • Chinese mobile web users spend more than ?1.2 billion ($182.6 million) each month on premium services, compared with $64.8 million in the US.
  • Chinese mobile web users spend a higher proportion of their monthly incomes on mobile data services (3.4%), compared to 1.2% in the US.

Despite the growing use of the mobile web, the study found that slow connections and extra fees are still the primary barriers to both increased use (among current users) and adoption (among non-users) in both countries.

“Our findings lead us to ask whether the cellular industry and government agencies need to encourage broader consumer adoption of mobile web services in the US,” said Josh Crandall, president of Netpop Research. “When web technology is based on open standards, freely available to anyone on the internet, market momentum and user behavior will increasingly determine which markets are destined to lead, leaving others to follow.”

About the study: Findings from Netpop 2009 | Pocket are based on an online survey of 4,384 broadband users in the US and 4,269 broadband users in China, ages 13+, conducted in September/October 2008. Respondents are selected using a proprietary sampling process to ensure that participants of the survey are representative of the Internet population in the target country based on age and gender.

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