Facing the complex internal and external environment, COVID-19, and other challenges in 2020, China Unicom adhered to its Focus Strategy, actively promoted comprehensive digital transformation, and remained committed to the differentiated operation. The Company strengthened integrated operation led by 5G services to enhance user acquisition capability, thereby actively pushing forward on high-quality and sustainable growth.
In 2020, China Unicom deepened its strategy of "Focus, Innovation and Cooperation". Led by 5G to drive mobile service growth, China Unicom persisted in the strategy to "promote 5G package nationwide, with focus on 5G terminal penetration and network access rate in key cities", while seeking for user upgrade from existing customers and expanding the scale in new user market. The Company strived to maintain the competitiveness of its tariff and products and enhanced flexibility on tariff and contract design at provincial level, aiming to drive 5G customers with contracts and bundled services while promoting full coverage of 5G packages on all existing customers. The Company also reinforced 5G core applications to create differentiation. China Unicom carried out scale promotion in Omni-channel by implementing "'6+X'+1+1" initiative, which centered on 5G differentiated scenarios online and enabled 5G to actively drive traffic. The Company also conducted 5G experience and closed-door terminal sales events on physical channels. On enterprise and government customer front, the Company actively built 5G benchmark demonstration. The Company accelerated concerted development among terminal, network and business, building the interactive drive between service and terminal. The innovative installment credit services on terminals also boosted the business development. In addition, the Company was able to implement refined customer segmentation and offer fit and suitable products based on precise Big Data analytics and deep insight from various scenarios. Centered on 5Gn, the Company also stepped up 5G promotion and brand communication and strengthened selling points of products with "Three-Gigabit", promoting service upgrade with innovative communications. As at the end of 2020, the number of mobile billing subscribers reached 306 million with a gradual increase in 5G market share and the mobile billing subscribers ARPU stood at RMB42.1. Mobile handset data traffic volume grew by 16.5% year-on-year.
In 2020, by adhering to the comprehensive coordination of "network + business + operation + service + information" in the development of fixed-line service, led by "Three-Gigabit" and combined with 5G hotspots based on business needs, China Unicom established a market-driven mechanism with network, business and service interaction, thereby comprehensively improved broadband access capabilities and the ability on resource management, achieving the coordinated development of broadband sale and marketing and network deployment. The Company also accelerated the construction of gigabit networks and formulated "Gigabit Broadband Development Plan", pushing forward the deployment and transformation of gigabit communities focusing high-value regions. Meanwhile, relying on the unconditional acceptance of broadband application, the Company built a digital operation system of "two networks and one middle platform" for home users, thereby optimised resource allocation and promoted highly-efficient governance. In 2020, fixed-line broadband access revenue reached RMB42.56 billion, representing a year-on-year growth of 2.4%. During the year, the number of broadband subscribers increased by 2.617 million to 86.095 million and the broadband access ARPU was RMB41.5. FTTH subscribers penetration reached 86%.
In cloud computing, the Company focused on cloud leadership while integrating research and development resources and riding on the organic growth of the innovative business as core driving forces. The Company created new WO Cloud base, new PaaS, and new cloud management product capabilities to build its differentiated edges of being "cloud-network integrated, secure and reliable, private and customised and multi-cloud collaborated", achieving the scale development strategy of WO Cloud. The Company also built its proprietary core competence of new WO Cloud, focusing on resources, networks, platforms, products and ecology, optimising the layout of its cloud resource pool across the network and well positioning the brand of WO Cloud. In 2020, cloud computing revenue reached RMB3.84 billion, representing a year-on-year growth of 62.7%.
In Big Data, the Company formed a product matrix including data application services, data technology services, AI and blockchain, focusing on the key industries such as government affairs, finance, cultural and tourism and transportation. It developed proprietary products such as government big data platform, digital + intelligence + industry + finance platform, smart travel-cultural tourism big data platform and smart factory AI application platform. The Company released "Unicom Chain", an unified blockchain products and capabilities platform. "Unicom Chain" was connected to the new national blockchain infrastructure "Xinghuo Space". The Company fulfilled the role as a SOE to support the pandemic prevention and control and assisted in the resumption of work, production and schooling. Our Unicom Big Data Co. Ltd. was named "National Advanced Group in Fighting Against COVID-19". In 2020, Big Data revenue reached RMB1.72 billion , representing a year-on-year growth of 39.8% and achieving a market share of 59.4%, ranked first among telecom operators.
In Internet of Things (IoT), the Company optimised the IoT business system with the drive by 5G, 4G as main force and precise development of NB and achieved the number of connections reaching approximately 240 million. Based on the concept of "network softwarisation, software hardwarisation and hardware as a chip", the Company strengthened proprietary capability building. The number of connections carried by the Yanfei Zhilian CMP platform exceeded 80 million and the Yanfei Gewu DMP platform had begun its commercial use. In 2020, IoT revenue reached RMB4.22 billion, representing a year-on-year growth of 39.0%.
In IT services, the Company grasped the development opportunities of "New infrastructure", public governance and industrial digitalisation, focusing on customers such as government units, public service units and large industrial enterprises, and key areas such as smart city, digital government, Big data + IT + Innovation, ITO and 5G innovation, further promoting digital transformation empowerment. The Company also created a "platform + application" product system covering digital infrastructure, cloud-network integration, digital platforms, digital applications, and digital solutions by aggregating its proprietary innovation and core capabilities. The Company's qualification level further improved and it is the only one among the three operators which obtained the first-level qualification for electrification and intelligentisation. The Company also newly added 7 IT industry qualifications including CS4, ITSS (Level I) and others. During the pandemic, the Company assured the smooth operation of communication network systems in the government, provided a number of digital services such as 5G-based live broadcast and remote meetings for important national conferences and successfully completed with high quality of more than 260 assurance tasks in three major categories. China Unicom System Integration Company Limited ranked 21st in "100 Most Competitive Software & IT Service Company" in China. In 2020, IT services revenue reached RMB13.36 billion, representing a year-on-year growth of 33.4%.
In 2020, the Company deepened the implementation of its strategy of focus, innovation, and cooperation, actively promoted the digital transformation of network and the reform of network operating mechanism. The Company achieved strategic results in the high-quality collaborative development in the industry and network "co-build and co-share", and continued to strengthen in network service support capabilities to facilitate the Company's high-quality development.
As at the end of 2020, the number of the Company's 4G base stations reached 1.503 million with 4G population coverage reaching 94% and administrative village coverage reaching 86%. In the fixed-line network, the Company continued to expand network coverage in new regions and stepped up the network upgrade in areas with PON+LAN. The total number of broadband access ports reached 225 million, of which FTTH ports accounted for 88%.
The Company continued to optimise its international network deployment. As at the end of 2020, the international submarine cable resource capacity, international Internet outbound capacity and homebound bandwidth reached 52.6T, 4.12T and 3.30T, respectively. The Company's international roaming services covered 627 operators in 259 countries and regions.
In 2020, the Company carried out high-quality development and acted out its brand planning by affirming the brand positioning of a warmth smart living along with the slogan "Innovation walks with Intelligence", which fully renovated the internal and external branding of China Unicom and enhanced the brand value of China Unicom. In promoting 5G, the Company gave full play to the leading role of 5G, continued the effort to communicate the brand philosophy and build and accumulate the 5Gn brand visual assets. While the Company focused on key businesses and scenarios on publicity campaigns, it also rode promotions on trends, hotspots, events and key festivals. The Company took the lead in launching "Three-Gigabit" products, focusing on the home network service demand, and carried out promotion featuring product benefits and catering regional differences. In the youth market, the Company rejuvenated WO Pi brand, deepened WO Pi's brand proposition, "Do what I like", and conveyed the connotation of diversified vitality. By continuously optimising the promotion content and diversifying communication means, the Company received good overall brand development momentum and improved in reputation and brand awareness. Meanwhile, by virtue of the sponsorship of the Winter Olympics, consumers' perception of the brand further improved.
In 2020, the Company continued to push forward comprehensive digital transformation and carried out "1+3+3" work deployment. Focusing on the development of the four major markets and adhering to the core strategy of "1+4+X" and leading by "Three-Gigabit" products, the Company focused on four fundamental products and realised scale development of smart home products. The Company promoted the full coverage of 5G packages for all customers and strengthened 5G core applications to create differentiation. Segmenting customers based on customer value distribution and spending pattern, the Company refined customer lists and accurately matched customers with appropriate tariffs, products and touchpoints. The Company solidly promoted the "two improvements and two controls" and carried out value-oriented operation for all customers. The Company also innovated the platform-based product portfolio and built an ecosystem for channels by giving full play to the advantages of the business and IT collaboration, consumer market and government and enterprise market collaboration, sought development in segment markets by customer slicing and precise policy implementation. At the same time, the Company strived to improve six key operational capabilities namely, "brand, customers, products, channels, terminals and services" to achieve the improvement of marketing efficiency and facilitating the high-quality development of the consumer market.
In 2020 , the Company actively implemented comprehensive digital transformation strategy, leveraged the efficient support of middle platforms, strengthened Omni-channel collaboration and focused on the implementation of "'6+X'+1+1" project. The Company also accelerated the online to offline integration, building a digital OMO channel operation system which integrate new and existing customer management, service and marketing. In addition, the Company stepped up channel innovation and transformation, vigorously developed online, light touch-point micro-ecology, live broadcast and other new touchpoints, new marketing models and segment markets, thus customer acquisition capability had continuously improved on digital channels. Through fully promoting "100%" satisfaction and actively building a high-traffic APP portal ecosystem, as well as boosting the multi-dimensional smart push capability, the service capability of digital channels was gradually enhanced. Riding on the middle platforms serving consumer market and the high-traffic APP portal, the Company achieved online and offline resource sharing, the online powered up offline and built an unified delivery tools which pushed forward network and business collaboration, continuously accelerating the digitalisation of channels.
In 2020, the Company dedicated in promoting service assurance during the pandemic and accelerated digital transformation, achieving continuous improvement in customer experience and service quality. As at the end of the fourth quarter, end-to-end real-time customer experience score improved by 1.52 points. Net Promoter Score (NPS) measuring the reputation of mobile and broadband services improved by 5.5 points and 7.6 points, respectively. As at the end of December, valid complaint rate published by Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) decreased by 35.2% year-on-year.
PRECISE PANDEMIC CONTROL
Since the beginning of 2020, facing the outbreak of COVID-19, the Company has been proactively undertaking social responsibility, assuring the effective communication services delivery and making use of new technologies such as big data, AI and 5G to support a precise pandemic control and resumption of work, production and schooling. The outbreak posed short-term challenges to the Company, including customer acquisition, business development, network deployment and risk of bad debt. However, it also accelerated demand by economy and society for transformation on digitisation, cyberisation and intelligence, thereby creating new opportunities to the Company. Striving to turn adversity into opportunities, the Company accelerated the transformation of Internet-oriented operation, provided innovative communications service offerings, strengthened O2O integrated operation and actively promoted new informatisation applications, thereby providing customers with accessible, convenient and highly efficient smart living services.