China Mobile, the country’s largest telecom operator, said today that its profits rose 5.6% year on year in the first half this year amounting to $9.1 billion due to strong growth in wireless data traffic revenue and 4G mobile business. Profits attributable to shareholders reached 60.6 billion yuan ($9.1 billion) in H1, according to financial results released by the company, which is also the world’s largest mobile telecom operator by subscribers, state-run Xinhua news agency reported. Operating revenue climbed 7.1% year on year to 370.4 billion yuan, with revenue from telecom services up by 6.9%. China Mobile chairman Shang Bing called the results “encouraging” in a statement, saying the company had beaten the average industry growth. He attributed the performance to increases in 4G business and data traffic, driven by strong demand for wireless internet access. In H1, China Mobile saw a monthly net increase of over 19 million 4G customers on average, bringing the total number of 4G customers to 429 million. During the period, revenue from wireless data traffic surpassed traditional business as the biggest revenue source for the company, jumping 39.7% year on year. Despite the growth, Shang said the company faces fierce competition from 4G businesses and internet firms’ expanding into telecoms. In the second half, China Mobile will further build on its 4G advantages, increase revenue from digital services and expand its market share in information and communications technology, Shang said.