China’s 5G market is set to add almost $260 billion to the Chinese economy in 2030 with connections set to top 1 billion this year

At the Post-MWC Sharing Event in Beijing, leaders from the GSMA contextualised the significant role the mobile industry already plays in China’s economy 

26 March 2024, Beijing: Ahead of the GSMA’s Post MWC Sharing Event in Beijing, the GSMA has launched the Mobile Economy China 2024 report. The report forecasts that more than half of Chinese mobile connections will be 5G by the end of 2024. 5G’s contribution to GDP in China is expected to reach almost $260 billion in 2030, which is 23% of the overall annual economic impact of mobile in China. Also by 2030, 5G connections in China will account for nearly a third of the global total, with 5G adoption in China reaching almost 90%, making it one of the leading markets globally.  

Mats Granryd, Director General of the GSMA, said: “It is great to see China, the world’s largest 5G market, commit so enthusiastically to the GSMA’s Open Gateway initiative to help drive the growth and maturity of the technology. As China surpasses 1 billion 5G connections this year, we expect to see further investment and potential in evolutions such as 5G-Advanced, 5G New Calling and 5G RedCap to improve user experience and unlock new revenue streams for operators.” 

Meanwhile, the major Chinese operators remain committed to the GSMA Open Gateway initiative, the GSMA shared today at a media briefing ahead of the Post MWC Sharing Event in Beijing, where industry leaders in the digital ecosystem gather to share their visions on the key trends and opportunities in 2024 as well as collaborations between the industry in China and the global community. The GSMA launched Open Gateway at MWC Barcelona in 2023. Today, China’s three leading mobile operators – China Mobile, China Telecom and China Unicom announced the commercial launch of the One Time Password (OTP) API, as part of their involvement in the GSMA Open Gateway initiative. In addition, CITIC Telecom, Huawei, and ZTE have become the latest Chinese technology giants to commit to the GSMA Open Gateway. 

The 5G market in China continues to mature, leading both to increased connections and to broader economic value. 5G adoption is growing faster than anticipated thanks to the speed of network deployments and maturing device ecosystem. More than 800 million Chinese mobile connections are already 5G. This year the proportion of 5G connections is predicted to rise from 45% to over 50% and become the dominant mobile technology in the country, with more than 1 billion total connections by the end of 2024.  

The Mobile Economy China report, launched at the event, also found: 

  • There are now 1.28 billion unique mobile subscribers in China – a penetration rate of 88%  
  • Mobile’s overall contribution to the Chinese economy in 2023 reached $970 billion, or 5.5% of GDP 
  • 5G is expected to reach 1.6bn connections in 2030, representing a third of the world’s total, and forecast to contribute $260 billion to China’s GDP  
  • An additional 290 million people in China now use mobile internet compared to eight years ago (2015), closing the country’s Usage Gap from 43% to just 16% 
  • Mobile data traffic in China is expected to quadruple by the end of the decade 

The overall ecosystem now supports almost 8 million jobs in the country and contributes $110 billion annually through taxation, while operator revenues reached $225 billion for 2023. By the end of the decade, the annual economic contribution from China’s mobile sector is forecast to exceed $1 trillion. 

A further key driver of 5G growth in China will be the expanded use of the 6 GHz spectrum band. China became the first country in the world to identify the 6 GHz band to IMT in its national legislation in June 2023 as it provides unparalleled contiguous large bandwidth in the mid-band that is crucial to the success of 5G future evolution. 

MWC Shanghai returns in 2024 

Focus and excitement at the post-MWC sharing event inevitably turned to the return of MWC Shanghai 2024 following its successful tenth anniversary last year. The event will take place at the New International Expo Centre from 26th to 28th June 2024, and will again feature industry-leading insights and presentations from key tech industry decision makers on current and future trends. 

Under the umbrella theme ‘Future First’, the three sub themes of 5G & Beyond, AI Economy and Manufacturing DX will bringing together global industries, technologies and communities to realise the future’s potential and be at the forefront of change. 

5G IN Zone will also return to MWC Shanghai, inviting attendees to explore the technology-related innovations taking place in vertical industries, including AI, IoT, edge computing and AR/VR. 5G IN stands for “5G Innovation and Investment ” and is one of our GSMA Foundry projects bringing together mobile operators, industry and ecosystem partners and investors to stimulate 5G innovation and increase collaboration across sectors.  

We are also delighted to host the GSMA’s Asia Mobile Awards (AMOs), the region’s most prestigious accolade for the connectivity industry. Created to celebrate the individuals, organisations and partnerships that drive our industry forward. We will host an in-person event at MWC Shanghai 

Sihan Bo Chen, Head of Greater China at the GSMA, commented: MWC Shanghai has quickly become the key tech and telecoms event in China, and we’re excited to convene the sector’s major players and those from adjacent industries across this dynamic region. The development of AI, computing and 5G-Advanced are initiating a new wave of growth potential, which is reinforced by the growth and impact of 5G in China.  I am confident that the next few years will see the ecosystem in China and the rest of the Asia drive even more cross-sector innovation globally.” 

MWC Shanghai provides an essential and strategic platform to convene and advance the digital ecosystem. Pre-registration is open now at

We welcome you to download the Mobile Economy China 2024 report by clicking here.


About the GSMA
The GSMA is a global organisation unifying the mobile ecosystem to discover, develop and deliver innovation foundational to positive business environments and societal change. Our vision is to unlock the full power of connectivity so that people, industry, and society thrive. Representing mobile operators and organisations across the mobile ecosystem and adjacent industries, the GSMA delivers for its members across three broad pillars: Connectivity for Good, Industry Services and Solutions, and Outreach. This activity includes advancing policy, tackling today’s biggest societal challenges, underpinning the technology and interoperability that make mobile work, and providing the world’s largest platform to convene the mobile ecosystem at the MWC and M360 series of events.  

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