China Unicom upped its profit over the opening three quarters of 2020, as a focus on high-value customers offset overall declines in its subscriber base.

Net profit increased 10.2 per cent year-on-year to CNY10.8 billion ($1.6 billion) on revenue of CNY207 billion, up 4.4 per cent.

Chairman and CEO Wang Xiaochu stated efforts to boost margins since the second half of 2019 were bearing fruit, with customer acquisition costs reduced and subscriber quality improved.

Moves to transform the customer acquisition process contributed to a 12.6 per cent decline in selling and marketing expenses to CNY22.5 billion, Wang said.

ARPU increased 2.5 per cent to CNY41.60.

Mobile service revenue fell 1 per cent to CNY116.5 billion, but the company noted the metric grew 2.5 per cent year-on-year during Q3.

Product sales in the nine-month period fell 3.1 per cent to CNY18 billion.

The operator lost 15.6 million mobile subscribers, leaving it with 309.2 million. It remained tight-lipped on how many of these are 5G users.