Chinese netizens spent an average of 6.1 hours on mobile internet per day as of December 2020. This figure is up 4.9% on 2019 and reflects the growing pace of digitalisation in China over the last year, which has been hastened by the pandemic. On average, Chinese online users opened 25.7 apps every day.
The growth in mobile usage has been reflected in the recently released 2020 financial reports of China’s tech giants.
Short-form video platform Kuaishou saw its daily active users grow by 31.4% year-on-year to 271.3 million in Q4 2020. Its total revenue increased by 52.7% to $2.8 billion, of which online marketing and livestreaming contributed 47% and 43.6% respectively.
China’s largest video game streaming platform, Huya, brought in $1.6 billion in revenue last year, a 30.3% increase from 2019. The gaming platform, which is owned by Tencent, saw even more dramatic growth in gross profit, which increased by 53% to $347.6 million.
Huya wasn’t the only one of Tencent’s platforms to experience growth. Many of its subsidiaries, which include WeChat, QQ, QQ Music, Tencent Video, Honor of Kings and Game for Peace, have seen a surge in users as the pandemic has increased demand for online entertainment and communication. WeChat’s monthly active users grew by 5.2% to 1.225 billion at the end of 2020. Tencent, itself, brought in $73 billion in annual revenue, an increase of 28% year-on-year, and, in Q4, it saw its net profit grow by a whopping 175% to $9.1 billion.
However, Weibo is one platform that has struggled to keep up in China’s booming tech industry. The news and trends platform saw its total annual revenue fall from $1.77 billion in 2019 to $1.69 billion. This has come as competition from the increasingly popular short-video and livestreaming platforms has grown. Yet, Weibo’s user base has also been increasing: its monthly active users reached 521 million, an increase of five million from the year before. Of them, 94% of users accessed the site through mobile and 225 million used the platform daily.
E-commerce platform Pinduoduo has also seen phenomenal growth due to the success of its group-buying model and ability to appeal to consumers in lower-tier cities. Its revenue in the fourth quarter of 2020 was $4.08 billion, a considerable jump from $1.66 billion in 2019. The platform also achieved a huge milestone in surpassing the total number of consumers on Alibaba’s retail platform. Pinduoduo amassed 200 million new active consumers during 2020, bringing its total userbase to 788.4 million active consumers.