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China Unicom resolutely shouldered the mission and responsibility of building a Cyber Superpower, Digital China, Smart Society, and Technological Innovation. The Company grasped new opportunities, embraced new changes and achieved new development. It has upgraded its corporate strategy to “Strengthen and Solidify, Preserve and Innovate, Integrate and Open” and positions itself as “the national team in the operation and service of digital information infrastructure, the key force in the establishment of Cyber Superpower, Digital China and Smart Society, and the frontline troop in the integration and innovation of digital technologies”. It focuses on five main responsibilities and main businesses, namely “Big Connectivity, Big Computing, Big Data, Big Application and Big Security”, steering on the main course of digital economy at full strength.
In the first quarter of 2023, the Company’s operating revenue amounted to RMB 97,222 million, up by 9.2% year-on-year, which was one of the highest growth rates in the same period in nearly a decade. Service revenue amounted to RMB 86,115 million, up by 6.1% year-on-year. The revenue structure was continuously optimised, and Industry Internet revenue amounted to RMB 22,389 million, accounting for 26.0% of the service revenue, up by 2.1 percentage points year-on-year. EBITDA amounted to RMB 25,730 million, up by 2.8% year-on-year. The profit attributable to equity shareholders of the Company amounted to RMB 5,155 million, up by 11.2% year-on-year. The profit scale reached a new high in the same period since the Company’s listing.

The Company highly regards the improvement of operating quality. In the first quarter of 2023, its operating cash flow reached RMB 16,964 million, up by 21.8% significantly year-on-year. Operating cash flow-to-operating revenue ratio reached 17.4%, up by 1.8 percentage points year-on-year, and the liabilities-to-assets ratio remained at a reasonable level of 46.3%.
In terms of “Big Connectivity”, the Company seized the development opportunities of “Dual-gigabit” and “IoT connections exceeding human connections”, and insisted on coordinated development of quantity, quality, structure, and efficiency. The Company optimised the product structure of basic businesses. Riding on the development trend of the industry, it accelerated the expansion of new integration to create growth pillars of basic businesses, and comprehensively strengthened subscriber integration and group-based development, leading to the scale and value development of Big Connectivity. The number of "Big Connectivity" subscribers reached 900 million, of which 5G package subscribers reached 224 million, driving the Company’s mobile service revenue to reach RMB 43,823 million, up by 4.4% year-on-year. The mobile subscriber ARPU reached RMB 44.9, up by RMB 0.9 year-on-year. The fixed line broadband access revenue increased by 3.1% year-on-year, reaching RMB 11,856 million. The Company accelerated the promotion of ubiquitous human-machine-thing connectivity, and accelerated the development of Internet of Things (IoT) and industrial Internet. The number of IoT terminal connections reached 416 million.
In terms of “Big Computing”, the Company actively implemented the Eastern Data and Western Computing strategy, and continued to deepen the “5 + 4 + 31 + X” new data centre system. The number of IDC cabinets reached 372,000. The Company continued to enrich its cloud resource reserve, and optimised the layout of “one resource pool per city”. It fully satisfied the needs of customers for cloudification in all scenarios by supporting the construction of digital governments and smart cities, and actively participating in the digital transformation of central state-owned enterprises. Unicom Cloud maintained good growth and achieved revenue of RMB 12.79 billion, representing an increase of 40% over the same period last year.
In terms of "Big Data", the Company focused on the integration and innovation of Big Data, artificial intelligence and blockchain, and aggregated key capabilities such as data governance, data security and data visualisation services. It improved its product system, and replicated benchmark projects on a large scale in areas such as digital government, digital finance, smart tourism and data security. Big Data achieved revenue of RMB 1,498 million, representing an increase of 54.2% over the same period last year.
In terms of "Big Application", the Company created more and better innovative products, deepened the supply-side structural reform of products for the individual and household markets. The growth of innovative products of its basic businesses was strong, with the number of paying subscribers of the major products of Personal Digital Smart Living and Unicom Smart Home business exceeding 160 million. Focusing on vertical industries, the Company was dedicated to developing professional, specialised, unique and novel capabilities, establishing leading advantages in key industries such as digital government, smart cities, industrial Internet, and medical and health services. It created over 19,000 5G scale application "commodity housing" projects, and provided 5G virtual private network services to 4,562 customers. The Company released the world’s first 5G RedCap commercial module, and took the lead in completing the largest RedCap pre-commercial verification in China, helping 5G applications to “travel light”.
In terms of "Big Security", the Company gave full play to the advantages of its basic network resources and four-level operation system, and created a security product and operation service system integrating "cloud, network, data and service". The Company continued to upgrade its competitive products such as Unicom Cloud Shield Anti-DDoS Pioneer and network situational awareness. It launched the security cloud market, focused on optimising the industry’s security ecology, and continuously met the diversified and scenario-based security needs of the government and large enterprises.
The Company’s co-build co-share with China Telecom continued to deepen, with the number of shared 5G base stations reaching a million, accounting for 30% of the world’s total 5G base stations by the end of 2022. China Unicom vigorously promoted 700M base station roaming in remote rural areas, and has started commercial trial on live network. The number of shared 4G base stations reached 1.1 million, and cross-sector co-build co-share of infrastructure such as poles and pipelines was also being executed and advanced. Through 5G/4G co-build co-share, both companies have saved more than RMB270 billion in investment for the country on a cumulative basis, and can save operating costs of more than RMB30 billion a year and reduce carbon emissions by more than 10 million tonnes a year.
The Company has been making great efforts to construct intelligent and comprehensive digital information infrastructure, actively building an unobstructed information channel and a new digital base for economic and social development. In 2022, the Company continued to increase its investment in basic network capabilities, and the construction of “four premium networks” made remarkable progress, basic network capabilities were further enhanced. The Company’s accumulated capital expenditure was RMB74.2 billion in 2022.

In 2023, the Company will further step-up investment. Capital expenditure will reach RMB76.9 billion, of which computing power network investment will account for more than 19% and grow by over 20% year-on-year, in an effort to solidify the digital base.
The Company highly values shareholder return. Taking into consideration the Company’s good business development, the Board proposed a final dividend of RMB0.109 per share in 2022. Together with the interim dividend of RMB0.165 per share already paid, the full-year dividend reaches RMB0.274 per share, representing a year-on-year increase of 26.9% in 2022. The Company will continue to strive to enhance profitability and shareholder return in the future.

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.

Last updated: 24 April 2023

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