China Unicom has reported a more than five fold growth in net profit for 2018 as a result of strong data revenue growth and benefits from the company's mixed ownership reform program.
The annual results show a 457.8% spike in net profit to 10.19 billion yuan, contributing to what the operator called a “V-shaped rebound in profit” following its financial woes in 2016, when the operator's annual profit shrank by nearly 95%.
Operating revenue grew 5.8% to 290.88 billion yuan, with service revenue up 5.9% to 260.68 billion yuan.
Mobile service revenue for the year grew 5.5% from the prior year to 165.1 billion yuan, with mobile data revenue jumping 13.7% to 104.8 billion yuan.
China Unicom meanwhile recorded total 4G net additions of 45.05 million for the year, taking its total 4G subscriber base to 220 million. This represents 70% of the operator's total mobile customer base, an eight percentage point increase from 2017.
Total fixed broadband subscribers meanwhile increased by 4.3 million to more than 80 million, but fixed broadband revenue declined to 42.3 billion yuan due to intense competition and ongoing mobile substitution.
The operator's results represent the first full year of implementation of the mixed ownership reform program, which has involved opening up investment in a Chinese mobile operator to private investors for the first time.
As part of the program, at the direction of the Chinese government, Unicom sold a 35% stake in the company to a group of 14 investors in 2017.
“Looking ahead, the mixed-ownership reform has powered up the company with differentiated advantages, bringing invaluable opportunities for development,” China Unicom chairman and CEO Wang Xiaochu said.
He said the company plans to continue to pursue growth based on its “Five New” operating strategy.
“We intend to unleash more institutional benefits brought by New Governance, activate greater internal vibrancy with New DNA, achieve better efficiency and returns with New Operation, tap into the broader blue ocean with New Energy, and put together greater synergetic advantages with New Ecology.”
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