Cell Phone sms news in Chinese Newspaper Groups: a case Study of Yunnan Daily Press Group Liu Cheng & Axel Bruns Creative Industries Faculty Queensland University of Technology

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Cell Phone SMS News in Chinese Newspaper Groups: A Case Study of Yunnan Daily Press Group

  • Liu Cheng & Axel Bruns Creative Industries Faculty Queensland University of Technology

Mobile Telephony and Yndaily

  • Continuing mobile boom in China:

    • rapid growth in number of users, volume of messages, range of services
    • but focus of studies largely on key areas (Shanghai, Beijing, etc.)
    • dominated by China Mobile and China Unicom
  • Yunnan Daily Press Group:

    • key regional news organisation
    • case study for developments in other regional areas
    • SMS, WAP, MMS news services since 2002
    • overseen by Liu Cheng, vice-director of Yndaily information and network centre

Rapid Growth in Users

SMS Use in China

  • SMS development initially slow:

    • limitation to Latin script until 1997
    • thus absence of SMS value-added services
    • China Monternet (Mobile+Internet) as first key service in 2001
  • Common value-added services today:

    • Information, including news, weather, examinations, and English learning;
    • Entertainment, including short message games, mobile phone pictures, ring tones downloads, jokes, and other entertainment participation;
    • Communications, including mobile chat, and email;
    • Commercial, including mobile phone stock trading and mobile phone banking; and
    • Special services, including location-based services (similar to GPS) (China Mobile, 2006)

The SMS Explosion

Market Development

The Mobile Services Downturn

  • Problems with mobile services:

    • unethical business practices until 2005
    • poor management, lack of regulation
    • uninvited messages, inability to cancel
    • illegal billing practices
    • government intervention, some providers shut down
    • also negative effect on legitimate providers
    • still overall market growth, but notably slowed
    • emergence of key market leaders / oligopolists

Mobile News in Yunnan Province

  • Established in 2002:

    • joint venture between Yunnan Mobile and Yunnan Daily Press
    • harnessing existing content from Yndaily publications
    • cross-promotion through Yndaily and Yunnan Mobile products
    • initial problem of technological limitations
      • 70 Chinese characters per SMS message
      • 2-5 messages per day
      • requires tight editing
    • growth and decline echoing market development
  • New opportunities:

    • MMS newspaper
    • 3G services

Key Strategies

  • Yndaily’s key options for growing the market:

    • Leveraging existing content sources
      • building on established news brands
    • Interactive options and participatory journalism
      • user participation growing in spite of overall market downturn
    • MMS Services
    • 3G Services
      • but problems with technology changeover and market oligopoly

Convergence Opportunities

  • Beyond mobile telephony:

  • Towards new models

    • growing focus on product R&D: e.g. through the China Digital Newspaper Lab
    • but need for better and more streamlined government regulation
    • threat of oligopoly led by China Mobile (especially in 3G market)
    • need for further insights beyond the rapid growth in use

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