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In the first quarter of 2024, China Unicom adhered to high-quality development and focused on the main responsibilities of Cyber Superpower and Digital China. It coordinated the current and long-term development while strengthening scale and value, promoting the coordinated development of the two main businesses, namely Connectivity and Communications (CC) and Computing and Digital Smart Applications (CDSA). The Company’s operating revenue showed steady growth, profitability rapidly improved, subscriber base continued to expand, network foundation continued to be strengthened, and reform and innovation reached a new level. All these laid a solid foundation for the Company to achieve full-year performance growth. The Company’s operating revenue amounted to RMB99,496 million, up by 2.3% year-on-year. Service revenue reached RMB89,043 million, up by 3.4% year-on-year, in which, CC business revenue reached RMB62,304 million while CDSA business revenue reached RMB23,215 million with its contribution to service revenue increasing to 26.1%. The Company’s revenue structure continued to optimise. Profit before income tax reached RMB7,239 million, up by 10.6% year-on-year, maintaining double-digit growth. Profit attributable to equity shareholders of the Company amounted to RMB5,613 million, up by 8.9% year-on-year.
In 2023, the CC business, which encompasses mobile connectivity, broadband connectivity, TV connectivity, leased line connectivity, communications services as well as information services, achieved revenue of RMB244.6 billion. It contributed to three quarters of the service revenue of CC and CDSA combined. The Company’s connectivity scale further expanded, with the total number of CC subscribers exceeding one billion. For mobile connectivity, the Company strengthened coordination among terminals, network and business development. Driven by 5G upgrade, the Company continued to strengthen coordinated development, striking a balance among scale, quality, structure and efficiency. The number of mobile subscribers reached 333 million, with a net addition of 10.60 million in 2023. The net addition increased significantly by 90% year-on-year. Subscriber mix continued to improve, and the penetration rate of 5G package subscribers reached 78%, an increase of 12 percentage points year-on-year. Actively seizing the development opportunities of universal connectivity, the number of Internet of Things (IoT) connections reached 490 million in 2023, of which 4G + 5G high-speed connections accounted for over 90%, injecting fresh impetus into the development of mobile connectivity. For broadband connectivity, the Company continued to build its reputation for gigabit service. The number of fixed-line broadband subscribers reached 113 million, with a net addition of 9.79 million year-on-year. The net addition hit a 10-year high. Subscriber mix improved significantly with the integration penetration of broadband subscribers reaching 76%. The penetration rate of gigabit subscribers reached 22%, an increase of 6 percentage points year-on-year. For information services, the Company continued to bolster the “platform + cloud network + applications” development model and constantly enhanced information applications. Information services revenue exceeded RMB10 billion. The number of paying subscribers of Personal Digital and Smart Living and Unicom Smart Home reached 100 million.
The new round of technological revolution and industrial transformation is overwhelming, and the prosperity and vitality of the digital economy have opened up new and bigger room for the development of China Unicom. In 2023, the CDSA business, which encompasses Unicom Cloud, data centre, system integration, data services, digital smart applications and cybersecurity, achieved revenue of RMB75.2 billion. It accounted for a quarter of the service revenue of CC and CDSA combined, and contributed to more than half of the Company’s incremental service revenue. For Unicom Cloud, revenue reached RMB51.0 billion in 2023, with year-on-year growth of 41.6%. Leveraging the differentiated edge of computing power and network integration as well as significantly richer computing power resources, its cloud resources covered over 230 cities. The Company met customers’ need for scenario-based customisation. It built a series of benchmark cases in the fields of government affairs, healthcare, transportation and education, empowering quality and efficiency enhancement in various industries. For data services, the Company seized policy opportunities such as “Digital China” construction and the “Data Factor X” Three-Year Action Plan, and leveraging its centralised platform and cutting-edge Big Data capability, its data services accounted for over 50% market share for five consecutive years, outperforming in the industry. Its data processing capacity continued to increase, and the daily amount of data collected doubled year-on-year to 1.2 PB. The Company passed the highest DCMM5 certification with the highest score ever. It built the No. 1 brand in digital government and developed 15 provincial government affairs Big Data platforms, while the total number of smart city service districts and counties exceeded 800. For digital smart applications, the Company has accumulated a total of 30,000 5G industry application projects covering 71 major categories of the national economy, serving more than 8,500 5G private network customers. The Company formed a leading edge in key sectors such as industrial Internet, digital government, and Internet of vehicles, etc. During Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2024, it won three Global Mobile (GLOMO) Awards, leading the high-quality development of 5G digital smart applications. For cybersecurity, based on the “Mogong” platform, the Company developed a new model of “platform + components + services” security operating services. It built China’s first mega-city digital security operation centre for a client. It promoted open cooperation in the security ecosystem and built a large-scale, product-rich and accessible security cloud market, supporting cybersecurity revenue to achieve a rapid growth of 120%.
The Company regards AI as an important strategic field. It accelerated the deployment in this nascent industry by combining China Unicom’s advantages in computing network infrastructure, diverse business use cases and extensive customer touch points to build a large language model (LLM) application development paradigm with China Unicom’s characteristics. At the MWC 2024, the Company launched the “Yuanjing” LLM system, which offered multiple parameter versions according to different functional needs, so as to use LLM to better empower use cases in the real economy. The Company comprehensively improved customer service with AI + Big Data, with relevant achievements successfully shortlisted in “Wu Wenjun Award for Science and Technology in Artificial Intelligence”, an authoritative award in the industry.
The Company fully implemented the national Eastern Data and Western Computing strategy, and actively deployed a new computing power network with advanced architecture, security and reliability and excellent service. Through the “5 + 4 + 31 + X” new IDC deployment, the Company strived to build green, centralised, secure and reliable computing infrastructure. The Company proactively responded to the transformation and upgrade of AI computing power demand, and pushed forward “1+N+X” AI computing planning and deployment. In Eastern regions with developed AI computing industry and Western regions with abundant resources, it undertook tiered deployment and construction. It has constructed over 100G high-speed transmission links among national hubs, reinforcing the optical transport foundation for computing power network. The latency of the Company’s public IP backbone network maintained its edge in the industry.
The Company adhered to new development philosophy and pushed forward high-quality 5G development. 220,000 5G mid-band shared base stations were added, bringing the total number to more than 1.21 million. The number of shared 4G base stations exceeded two million. The Company launched the world’s first 5G roaming pre-commercial trial in Xinjiang province with fellow operators to further improve the network resources utilisation efficiency in remote areas. It made good progress in promoting the co-build, co-share and co-maintenance of transmission lines, pipes and optical cables and other infrastructure. The Company took practical actions to echo the “dual carbon” policy, saving operating expenses of about RMB39.0 billion and annual carbon emissions of about 11.50 million tonnes in 2023, and saving cumulative capital expenditure of about RMB340.0 billion.
In 2023, the Company insisted on network-business coordination and precise investment. It accelerated the construction of digital information infrastructure. Its mobile network coverage continued to strengthen. Its broadband network maintained its industry edge in Northern China, while its foundational capabilities in Southern China were markedly boosted. For government and enterprise network, it provided “hard and soft” high-quality private network services, and continuously expanded coverage scale and multi-cloud connectivity, promoting “cloudification and digital empowerment” for thousands of industries. CAPEX was RMB73.9 billion in 2023.

In 2024, with 5G network coverage nearing completion, the Company’s investment focus is shifting from stable CC business to high-growth CDSA business. CAPEX is expected to be within RMB65.0 billion, in which CDSA investment will be appropriately brought forward and its deployment will be strengthened.
The Company is committed to sharing the fruits of its long-term development with shareholders while continuing to promote good growth of revenue and profit and maintaining its sustainable development capability. After due consideration of the Company’s robust business development, the Board declared a final dividend of RMB0.1336 per share (pre-tax) for the year 2023. Together with the interim dividend of RMB0.203 per share (pre-tax) already paid, the total dividend for 2023 amounted to RMB0.3366 per share (pre-tax), representing a year-on-year increase of 22.8%, which is significantly higher than the 11.8% growth of basic earnings per share. The cash dividend reached a record high.

The objective of the dividend policy of the Company is to achieve a long-term, sustainable and steadily increasing dividend, with a view to maximising the shareholders’ value. The declaration and payment of future dividends will depend upon, among other things, financial condition, business prospects, future earnings, cash flow, liquidity level and cost of capital. The Company believes such policy will provide the shareholders with a stable return in the long term along with the growth of the Company. Pursuant to the Companies Ordinance (Chapter 622 of the Laws of Hong Kong) and the Company’s articles of association, the Company may only pay dividends out of profits available for distribution.
The Company takes care of national interests, spontaneously contributes to national strategies and organically integrates its economic responsibility with social responsibility. In 2023, the Company demonstrated its commitment in environmental, social and corporate governance aspects, and contributed its part to meet the needs of people for better information life and the demand for digital, network-based and intelligent transformation of various industries. The Company continued to build a solid, reliable and secure network, enhance data and information security capabilities, and bolster its collaborative support system, fortifying national cybersecurity defence. Fulfilling the “dual carbon” strategy, the Company actively constructed large data centres which were technologically advanced, green and low-carbon, secure and reliable. The Company endeavoured to build an inclusive and accessible digital society and fully supported rural revitalization. Its Digital Village platform covered the 255,000 administrative villages and served more than 26 million villagers. The Company fully demonstrated its responsibilities. During major events such as communications support, rescue and disaster relief, reform, etc., it performed its missions and successfully completed communications support tasks during rescue and disaster relief. The Company advanced quality enhancement as a listed company. It strengthened communication with the capital market through reverse roadshows and other activities, and actively responded to shareholders’ concerns, promoting the mutual improvement of both its intrinsic value and market value.

Last updated: 10 April 2024

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