The short messaging service (SMS) industry is booming on the mainland China. Portals such as Sina.com, Sohu.com and Netease.com are posting profit thanks to a boom in text messaging and other mobile services last year.
As SMS spreads news, it is now being dubbed the “the fifth media” after print, radio, television and the Internet. Experts say the SMS market is now worth at least one billion yuan a month and growing.
In 2004, there are about 300 million cell phone subscribers but only 70 million Internet users in China, implying that the wireless Internet is more widely accessible than the wireline Internet. Thus, subscribers use their mobile handsets as a subsititute for PCs for sending and receiving email, or, more precisely, text messages. The only difference is that SMS is limited to a maximum of 160 characters.