China's top mobile carrier posts 25.7% rise in earnings

China Mobile, China's dominant mobile phone carrier, reported that its first-half profits rose 25.7% from a year earlier on strong growth in value-added services, an Associated Press report said.

The Associated Press report said earnings totaled 37.9 billion yuan ($5 billion) in the six months ending June 31, China Mobile announced. It said revenues grew 21.6% to 166.6 billion yuan ($21.9 billion).

Revenues for value-added services jumped by 35.5 % to 41.9 billion yuan ($5.5 billion), the Beijing-based company said.

It said such services now account for 25.2% of revenues, up 2.6% from the same period last year.

China Mobile said it added 31.1 million new subscribers in the first half for a total of 333 million, up 21.4% from the year-earlier period. Nearly half of all new customers were from China's populous countryside.

China already has the world's largest number of mobile phone users and the market is expected to grow rapidly in coming years as incomes rise.

The government says the number of Chinese mobile phone subscribers should reach 520 million this year, up from 460 million in 2006, the report said.