According to the China Internet Network Information Center, the overall penetration rate of China’s Internet has grown steadily to 42.1% since the end of 2012, with the majority of growth coming from mobile devices. At the current rate, the total number of Internet users in China will reach 800 million by 2015. Presently, 591 million Internet users reside in China, and 464 million of them are categorized as mobile users, which means that 78.5% of Internet users use a smart device when online. With a lot of recent talk about shifting advertising to mobile, these numbers lend credence to the opinion that mobile is expanding rapidly, and that companies ought to keep a close eye on the category.
Boston-based startup Aquto is working with mobile carriers to offer additional mobile Internet data – in exchange for consumers’ engagement with brands. If users watch specific ads, or try a new app on a mobile device, the user will be rewarded with a data boost of up to several gigabytes through the user’s cell carrier. Marketers could work directly with Aquto or its ad network partners to present ads via its Kickbit iOS/Android app – or on third-party sites and apps. As users move away from unlimited cell plans, this model might provide a viable incentive for maintaining engagement across platforms. Aquto is starting the service later this year, beginning with eligible Vodafone subscribers in Europe.