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Chinese Mobile Phone Subscribers Top 400 Million

The number of cellular-phone subscribers in China has reached 400 million, a record for the world's largest mobile-phone market, the Chinese government reported Thursday.

At the end of January, the nation had 398 million mobile subscribers, including 5.4 million added that month, or twice the increase of fixed-line users, the Ministry of Information Industry said.

Over the last 12 months, China has added between 3 million and 4 million subscribers each month, the government agency said. Assuming the trend continued in February, the number of mobile subscribers has reached 400 million.

The number of Chinese mobile subscribers surpassed fixed-line subscribers in October 2003, the agency said. China imported its first wireless telecom facility in 1987, and led the world in the number of mobile subscribers for the first time in 2001.

Meanwhile, the volume of short message traffic via mobile phones climbed 65.7 percent in January, compared with a year ago, to 33.7 billion, the government said. China's total telecom revenue in January reached $6.9 billion, up 10.8 percent.