China’s information consumption level received a huge boost last month as millions of residents, confined to their homes during the coronavirus pandemic, turned to digital methods to work and satisfy their everyday needs.
The country’s mobile data traffic volume jumped 39.3% from the same period a year ago, Li Ying, a senior official with the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, said in a press conference on Saturday.
For the month of March, the average household usage of mobile traffic reached 9.5 GB, the highest level in almost a year, reflecting rapid growth of information consumption, Li added.
“During the epidemic period, consumer demand for online medical and education services, food delivery and new retail services posted explosive growth,” said Li. “Consumers have experienced the convenience of information consumption, and it plays a very important role in hedging the economic impact [of COVID-19] and promoting a stable economy.”
The pandemic greatly boosted online activities last month as people looked for ways to alleviate boredom as they remained stuck at home.
Monthly active users of telecommuting and online education services were up 29% and 30.1% respectively in March from a year ago, according to a Trustdata report released on Monday.
A surge was seen in usage of remote office apps like Alibaba’s DingTalk, which saw monthly active users triple year on year to over a billion in March. Alibaba is the parent company of the South China Morning Post.
Short-form video, which has become a major source of entertainment for mainland Chinese consumers, also saw a big boost from the millions who were confined to their homes with time to spare.
Douyin, the mainland Chinese version of TikTok, generated almost 500 million monthly active users in March and its daily active users doubled from a year ago to 240 million, according to the same Trustdata report.
As social distancing measures are forcing more into online consumption, mobile e-commerce has seen a rapid increase in user activity.
Monthly active users for mobile e-commerce platforms in China rebounded to 900 million in March, up 20% from January. Monthly active users of grocery deliveries were up 86% from a year ago to 20 million in March, according to Trustdata.
“In the next stage, we will accelerate the improvement of industrial supply capacity, further expand the coverage of information consumption, create a good consumption environment […] and work together from the supply side and demand side to expand and upgrade information consumption,” MIIT’s Li said.
This article was originally published by the South China Morning Post.