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  The Rise of China's Information Services Industry
June 12, 2008

In China, the term "information services industry" has been used frequently in discourse. The term "industry" itself implies a governmental, commercial and socio-economic aspect, especially in light of a developing country like China. Information services industry development is a critical enabler for China's overall socio-economic development.

No where have the information services industry played a more critical, demonstrable role than the recent Sichuan earthquake. China's media outlets provided 24/7 coverage. The Chinese government and people were able to communicate their immediate situation, needs, and offer of help through mobile, IM, Internet, and various other means. When one IM services provider was down, another one was able to fill in.

The result is was an unprecedented, singular unleashing of China's vast resources. The Chinese and the world were kept informed, money and donations poured in, human and physical resources allocated, and factories (like, famously, tent manufacturers) mobilized.

CCID Consulting's Information Service Industry Taxonomy

However, the term "information services industry" has been used rather loosely in China. CCID Consulting, going forward, defines China's modern "information service industry" as one that provides information products and services based on information creation, collection, processing, storage, search, and access via information technologies.

The industry consists of three major categories: Digital content creation services, information transmission services, and IT technology services. Such a definition covers an array of related businesses and services.



Example Services

Digital Content Creation

Internet-Based Content


Online Gaming

Search Engine

Instant Messaging

Online advertisement

Mobile Content

Short Message Service (SMS)

Multimedia Message Service (MMS)

Mobile Gaming

Mobile Music.

Digital Audiovisual and Cartoon Content

Digital cartoon videos

Digital TV programming

Other Content


Electronic Publishing

Information Transmission



Communication Transmissions

Fixed-line telecom operator

Wireless telecom operator

Internet Transmissions

Internet Access

Domain Name System (DNS)

Content Delivery Networks (CDN)

Broadcast Transmissions



IT Services


Technology Operations

IT Consultancy

Systems Integration

IT Training

Hardware and software maintenance


Business Process Outsourcing

IT Outsourcing

Source: CCID Consulting, January 2008

The term information services industry can also encompass more traditional forms such as paper-based authoring, distribution and publishing. However, CCID Consulting's taxonomy focuses only on China's electronic-based means.

China's Information Services Industry Size and Forecast

China's information service industry revenues reached 907.33 billion Yuan in 2007, up 15.0% over 2006. Information transmission was still largest category, occupying two-thirds revenue share, but its growth rate is relatively low. However, digital content creation category had the largest growth rate of 37.3%. IT services grew steadily at 15.0%.

Information Services Category

2006 YOY
Growth (%)

2007 YOY
Growth (%)

Digital Content Creation



Information Transmission



IT Services

14.2% 15.0%


11.1% 15.0%

Source: CCID Consulting, January 2008

CCID Consulting forecasts that information services industry will grow 18.4% CAGR in the next five years, driven by preferential governmental policies and market demand.   

Favorable government policies and the critical role of information services.

As demonstrated by the Sichuan earthquake, information services is a critical enabler of China's modern economy, helping to optimize the efficient creation and allocation of economic resources. Government, commercial enterprises and investors alike see its importance and potential, and therefore the industry will continue to grow and expand.

In March 2007, China's State Council issued advisories that recognized the importance of information services industry as a driver of China's industrial development. In concert with China's 11th Five-Year Plan, the advisories also proposes continued development of China's IT infrastructure and convergence of telecom, the Internet, and broadcast networks to further e-business and e-government.

Larger potential, unrestricted by physical boundaries.

2007 was an inflection point for IT. Looking at the past two decades, the more "hardware" oriented electronics manufacturing IT industry grew more than 30% per year. In the last 10th Five-Year Plan, growth averaged 35% annually. But its growth rate slowed to 23.6% in 2006 and 18% in 2007.

China is now looking towards new growth in its information services industry. Information services is less encumbered by physical limitations, be it manufacturing plants, land, environmental impact, and other "brick and mortar" facilities. More importantly, information services will be more of a direct enabler China's own human resources.

For more information

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Unless otherwise specified, all information provided is sourced from CCID Consulting.


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