According to China Tower’s earnings statement, the company ended 2023 with a total of 2.04 million telecom towers under management, down 0.4% from the previous year. However, the company reported an increase in total tower tenants to 3.65 million at the end of 2023, which pushed the average number of tenants per tower to 1.79, up from 1.74 in 2022.

China Tower’s net profit for 2023 surged by 11% year-on-year to CNY 9.75 billion ($1.35 billion), while operating revenue grew by 2% to CNY 94 billion. The company’s “smart tower” revenue saw a substantial increase of 27.7% year-on-year, amounting to CNY 7.28 billion. Sales from the company’s energy unit also increased by 31.7% year-on-year to CNY 4.21 billion.

However, tower business revenue declined by 2.8% to CNY 75 billion, while indoor distributed antenna system (DAS) sales increased by 22.5% to CNY 7.17 billion.

China Tower attributed its success in 2023 to the continued expansion of 5G network penetration and coverage in China. The company was able to capture the opportunities presented by 5G through increased sharing of existing site resources, wider use of social resources, and greater effort in promoting the adoption of its integrated wireless communications coverage solutions.

In 2023, China Tower completed approximately 586,000 5G construction demands, of which more than 95% were achieved by sharing existing resources. The company’s efforts to support the accelerated 5G network extension were effective, and it was able to effectively promote the adoption of its integrated wireless communications coverage solutions.

China Tower was formed in 2014 when China Mobile, China Unicom, and China Telecom transferred their telecom towers to the new company. The three telcos created the new entity to reduce redundant construction of telecommunications infrastructure across the country. Currently, China Mobile, China Unicom, and China Telecom own a 38%, 28.1%, and 27.9% stake, respectively, while state-owned asset manager China Reform Holding owns the remaining 6%.

As of the end of 2023, China had a total of 3.38 million 5G base stations at a national level, according to the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT). By the end of the year, the country had more than 10,000 5G-powered industrial internet projects, and 5G pilot applications were launched in key areas such as cultural tourism, medical care, and education to help restore and expand consumption.

The country’s 5G mobile phone users reached 805 million by the end of 2023, according to Xin Guobin, vice minister of MIIT. Estimates from Chinese research institutions suggest that 5G technology was expected to help create an economic output of CNY 1.86 trillion in 2023, an increase of 29% compared with the figure recorded in 2022.