Mobile phone subscribers in China topped 329 million at the end of November, with the world's largest cell phone market expected to hit 402 million in 2005.
"China is expected to have 402 million mobile phone subscribers next year," Yang Qing, deputy director of the China Academy of Telecommunications under the Ministry of Information Indiustry (MII) was quoted by Xinhua news agency as saying.
Such numbers would mean that nearly one out of every three Chinese citizens would have a mobile phone.
China's mobile telecommunications equipment industry has also posted fast growth, with ouput rising from 10 billion yuan (1.2 billion dollars) in 1998 to 280 billion yuan last year, the report said.
The number of mobile phone manufacturers increased from eight in 1998 to 37 last year with total production presently exceeding 250 million sets a year.
China is expected to export some 100 million hand sets this year but with only about 2.7 percent coming from domestic manufacturers, while multinational makers like Nokia and Motorola lead the charge, the report said.
Meanwhile in a separate report, Xinhua said that China would have 360 million fixed line telephone subscribers by the end of 2005, up from 313 million at the end of November.
According to MII statistics, China has 24.5 fixed line subscribers for every 100 people, still below the international standard of 40 subscribers per 100 people, it said.