106 ways to annoy: China flounders in its efforts to combat text-messaging spam
Posted in: Spam at 28/11/2014 21:10
Spam, as every user of mobile phones in China is aware to their intense annoyance, is a roaring business in China. Its delivery-men drive through residential neighbourhoods in "text-messaging cars", with illegal but easy-to-buy gadgetry they use to hijack links between mobile-phone users and nearby communications masts. They then target the numbers they harvest, blasting them with spam text messages before driving away. Mobile-phone users usually see only the wearisome results: another sprinkling of spam messages offering deals on flats, investment advice and dodgy receipts for tax purposes.
Chinese mobile-users get more spam text messages than their counterparts almost anywhere else in the world. They received more than 300 billion of them in 2013, or close to one a day for each person using a mobile phone. Users in bigger markets like Beijing and Shanghai receive two a day, or more than 700 annually, accounting for perhaps one-fifth to one-third of all texts. Americans, by comparison, received an estimated 4.5 billion junk messages in 2011, or fewer than 20 per mobile-user for the year -- out of a total of more than two trillion text messages sent.