The majority of Chinese companies do not provide mobile devices to employees. According to an Ovum survey of large enterprises across 12 countries, China has the lowest rate of company-provided devices across BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, and China) countries. A bring-your-own-device (BYOD) approach is already a reality in China. However, rather than aiming at improving end-user satisfaction this is driven primarily by cost constraints.
For companies that provide mobile devices the average expense is the lowest across all the surveyed countries. Enterprises in China mainly use voice and SMS-based mobile services, which suggests a low level of maturity of mobile services in the market.
Avoiding the big screen
Despite the success of iPads and other tablets in the consumer market, most companies in China still do not consider them suitable for corporate usage and have not added them to procurement processes. Overall, big-screen mobile devices still have not made inroads into the Chinese enterprise.
Mobile email and IM are the most widely used mobile applications. A few enterprises also have implemented supply and inventory management mobile services. GPS-based locations based services and field service automation offered by mobile telcos are also popular among logistic and supply companies, and there is interest in sales force and analytic applications.
More than in other markets, indoor cellular system solutions are widely deployed in China to increase cellular signals inside offices. Voice over Wi-Fi is still not allowed in the country. It represents a threat to telcos legacy voice services, and we expect it to continue to be constrained by the regulator in the near future.
There is growing interest in mobile UC and convergent features as enterprises start to realize the cost savings and staff productivity benefits of these solutions. Considering the early stage of mobility adoption, players need to demonstrate the direct benefits of these applications. Real case studies will help to convince customers and create momentum.