updated 10/26/2005 1:54:46 PM ET 2005-10-26T17:54:46

China, already the world's biggest cell phone market, keeps growing.

At the end of September, it had 377 million mobile phone subscribers, or an average of 29 mobile phones per every 100 people, the government reported Wednesday.

That's up 7.7 percent from June, when the government reported 350 million users, and up 23.6 percent from 305 million in June 2004.

China was already the biggest cell phone market when in August 2003 it reported 250 million cell phone subscribers.

Helped by that growth, the number of short text messages sent in September by mobile devices rose 40.2 percent over a year earlier to 218.5 billion, the Ministry of Information Industry said in a report carried by the official Xinhua News Agency.

Though outnumbered by mobile phone users, the number of fixed line telephones also rose to a total of 345 million by the end of September, the report said.

Copyright 2005 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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