China's Heavy Broadband Adoption Extends Nation's Technology Lead
China's adoption of broadband continues to far out-pace that of all other nations, placing the East Asian country in a dominant position to leverage the benefits ultra-broadband delivers to schools, homes, government and businesses.
In the third quarter of last year, East Asia accounted for 70% of new fixed broadband subscribers, according to "Trends on Global Broadband Subscribers: Q3 2016," recently released by Point Topic. The region's overall growth rate of 3.89% was 1.89% higher than the prior quarter, the research firm said.
Over six months last year, China added almost 41 million FTTH connection, accounting for 89% of all FTTH new additions worldwide within that timeframe, Point Topic Ltd. said. In the 12 months between Q3 2016 and Q3 2015, FTTH connections worldwide grew about 77%, the researcher found.
China is creating a new "population of consumers" that needs high-speed access on online marketplaces, wrote Bain & Co. in "The Great Eight: Trillion-Dollar Growth Trends to 2020." In fact, about two thirds of the middle class projected to grow between 2010 and 2020 will be found in China and India, Bain & Co. projected -- although many in both nations will remain poor. Access to high-bandwidth educational resources, e-tail sites for handmade items and crowdsourced loans also can generate more opportunities.
On the business front, like its counterparts around the world, China suffers from talent recruitment and management and is using its FTTH/B investment, in part, to help local and international companies attract professionals, the Bain report said. Concerns about the Trump Administration's immigration policies -- as evidenced by this weekend's edict -- could encourage more international businesses to rely on telework, wrote telecommuting expert Jack Nilles in a prescient November 2016 blog on JALA. Chinese companies already have tested the concept with positive results; more widespread access to broadband only increases the pool of potential employees.
Increasing broadband availability also ties in with China's self-vision as a technology leader. Late last year, the country's Sunway TaihuLight was officially named the globe's fastest supercomputer. Within 15 years, China went from having no presence on the world's official ranking of supercomputers to having 171 systems (tied with the US) -- including the top two -- on the official Top 500 list, last released in November 2016.
— Alison Diana, Editor, UBB2020. Follow us on Twitter @UBB2020
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