Chinese Adults Have 84.87 Minutes of Mobile Screen Time each Day as Digital Content Consumption Expands


A new survey points to the increasing use of mobile devices for reading and content consumption purposes in China.

According to the results of the 16th National Citizens Reading Survey (第十六次全国国民阅读调查) released in Beijing on 16 April adults in China read 4.67 paper books and 3.32 electronic books on average in 2018.

Mobile phones are the one reading medium with which Chinese adults have the most contact, spending 84.87 minutes on their smart phones on average each day.

The average amount of contact with the internet was 65.12 minutes, while the average amount of time spend reading electronic readers was 10.70 minutes.

The survey was conducted by the China News Publishing Research Institute (中国新闻出版研究院) starting from August 2018, and covered a total of 50 cities and 29 province-level administrative entities.

Wei Yushan (魏玉山), head of the institute, said that the growth of digitised reading had led to an increase in the overall reading rates of Chinese citizens as well as their contact with digital reading mediums, in tandem with easing growth in the reading of physical books.

The report indicates that 38.4% of Chinese adults preferred to read a physical book in 2018, for a decline of 6.7 percentage points compared to 2017.

61.6% of adult Chinese internet users said that one of their main online activities was reading the news, while 62.3% said it was chatting or interacting with friends.

50.0% mainly use the internet to watch videos, 41.1% use it for online purchases, while 36.5% use it for listening to music online or downloading music and movies.

28.0% indicated that they mainly use the internet for online gaming, while only 15.9% said that their main internet activity was reading online books and periodicals.

The survey also found that nearly 30% of respondents make regular use of audio books, primarily via mobile apps.

Amongst Chinese adults the audio-book usage rate was 26.0%, while amongst underage respondents the rate was 26.2%.

Shenzhen, Suzhou and Beijing topped the survey’s municipal reading index, followed by Qingdao, Hangzhou, Nanjing, Shanghai, Hefei, Wuhan and Fuzhou.