China to introduce ads on cell phones

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BEIJING -- Chinese users of cellular phones may be exempt from paying their phone bills in the future if instead they commit themselves to listening to ads on the phone three times a day.

This new service may be tested out in China's three main cities of Beijing, Guangzhou and Shanghai, according to telecom officials who met recently at a seminar in Shenzen in South China's Guangdong province.

The more advertisements cellular phone users listen to, the more free talk time they will earn, according to executives, quoted in the Beijing Youth Daily. Advertisers will be responsible for footing consumers' bills, although the report did not name any companies involved in the service.

The new service has been given the green light by China's telecommunication authorities.

An initial free-talk cellular phones will be put into service in the three cities next month. A complete ad service network is expected to be established. Users joining the free-talk phone service will be askedto provide detailed information about themselves soadvertisers are able to analyze the form and contentof ads according to the target market.

Copyright July 1999, Crain Communications Inc.

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