Chinese consumers forecast to spend more time on their phones than watching TV this year

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(April 19): People in China will spend more time on their smartphones and other mobile devices than watching television for the first time this year, according to a study.

Chinese adults will spend two hours and 39 minutes a day on average on their mobile devices, compared to two hours and 32 minutes watching TV, a forecast of media usage in the country by eMarketer showed.

Time spent on mobile devices is predicted to account for more than 40 percent of total daily media time this year, up just over 11 percent from 2017. Television usage, meanwhile, will account for just under 40 percent, marking a 2 percent decline from the previous year.

The prominence of digital video in China was the main driver of the trend, eMarketer said. Chinese adults are expected to spend nearly a third of their daily digital activity watching digital video by 2020.

Various home-grown tech giants, including Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent, host their own video streaming services with original content. Baidu's video streaming platform iQiyi went public on the New York Stock Exchange recently in a $2.4 billion float.

Meanwhile, emerging video apps in China have sparked interest from domestic tech giants, with Tencent reportedly leading a $1 billion investment round in Kuaishou earlier this year.

"Audiences increasingly consume digital video within platforms that provide a greater variety of content and allow for on-demand viewing," Shelleen Shum, forecasting director at eMarketer, said Thursday.

"Faster networks and the proliferation of smartphones allow consumers to watch or post videos in between other daily activities."

Various financial technology platforms, such as Ant Financial's Alipay, have also contributed to Chinese consumers spending more time on their phones. Mobile payments have seen increased popularity in Asia, as consumers use cash less.