Mobile phone users in China reach 574m

China currently has 574 million cell phone users, equal to about 44% of its population, state media, quoted by an Associated Press report said.

The official Xinhua News Agency says the number of mobile phone users at the end of March grew by 27.3 million since the end of 2007, as fixed-line users switched to mobile services because of lower rates.

It quoted the Ministry of Industry and Information as saying Saturday China's fixed-line operators lost 4.4 million subscribers in the first quarter, leaving 361 million fixed-line users.

China has 1.3 billion people.