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Chinese mobile phone operators are living high on the hog as the Year of the Pig debuts on the lunar calendar: increasing use of text messages is bringing about 1.4 billion yuan ($179 million) to their coffers. (来源:EnglishCN英语问答中心[e问e答])

The first seven days in the lunar New Year, which began Sunday, are expected to provide the highest message traffic for the entire year . In China, each short message costs the user about 10 fen (1.3 cents), much lower than the phone call’s fee which varies from 30 fen to 50 fen (3.8 to 6.4 cents). Undoubtedly, sending greeting messages is preferable to calling people to say Xin Nian Kuai Le or “Happy New Year.”

Beijing Mobile and Beijing Unicom said over 400 million short messages were sent out in Beijing last Saturday, 5,800 per second on the last day of the Year of the Dog.

China Mobile (nyse: CHL - news - people ) and China Unicom (nyse: CHU - news - people ), the dominant national operators, estimated that Chinese people would send around 14 billion festival text messages during the seven-day lunar New Year holiday, 11% higher than last year’s record of 12.6 billion, bringing about 1.4 billion yuan ($179 million) new year money to the telephone concerns.

According to figures from the Ministry of Information Industry, Chinese people sent 429.6 billion text messages through mobile phones last year, 41% higher than 2005. People are increasingly sending text messages for holidays like Valentine’s Day and the Spring Festival.

There were more than 460 million mobile phones subscribers in China at the end of 2006. The number is expected to climb to more than 520 million this year.

 
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