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China has 180m mobile users

China had 180 million mobile phone subscribers by the end of last month and continued rapid growth will see the 200 million mark surpassed before 2003, official media said Friday.

The country also has 200 million fixed line users, giving it a total of 380 million phone lines, more than any other country in the world, the People's Daily said, quoting unnamed "industry sources".

In first seven months of the year, 55.8 million subscribers acquired new phone lines, of which 35.1 were mobile and 20.7 fixed, the paper said.

Telecoms revenues grew 28.7 percent to 308 billion yuan (US$37.2 billion) over that period against the same seven months of 2001.

The number of mobile users will reach 200 million before the end of the year, the report forecast, meaning a doubling in numbers in less than two years from the 100 million reached in March 2001.

There were 100 million fixed lines just three years ago.

China is already the world's biggest mobile phone market, surpassing Japan at the end of 2000 and the United States in July 2001.

Earlier forecasts had said the number of mobile users would outstrip fixed lines at some point next year.

Mobiles have become especially popular as market reforms and increasing opportunities in various corners of the large country have put millions on the move.

 
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