Monday, March 5, 2007

China's New Year is big business for SMS

"I want to give you the sunshine of the Everest, the breeze from all corners of the world, the blessing from the king of mountains and the fortune of Bill Gates. Wish you a happy Spring Festival."

This is one of the top 10 winners of a New Year's text message contest in Beijing.

More Chinese are sending New Year greetings via text messages. But for many people, the novelty has worn off. People complain that the practice is too impersonal and too intrusive.

"Known in the local media as "the thumb economy," text messaging brought in more than $5 billion for China Mobile and China Unicom, China's two wireless carriers, in 2006.

"In the first week of this year's New Year celebration, which started on Feb. 18 and ends Sunday, Chinese sent 15.2 billion text messages, or about 33 messages per cellphone account.

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