We recorded operating revenue of RMB848.3 billion for the year of 2021, up by 10.4% year-on-year. Of this, telecommunications services revenue amounted to RMB751.4 billion, up by 8.0% year-on-year, and the growth rate was 4.8 percentage points higher than that of 2020. Digital transformation revenue increased by 26.3% year-on-year to reach RMB159.4 billion, contributing 59.5% of the growth of telecommunications services revenue and to become our largest revenue growth driver. Profit attributable to equity shareholders reached RMB116.1 billion, or RMB5.67 per share, up by 7.7% year-on-year. Our profitability remained in a leading position among top-tier global telecommunications operators. EBITDA increased by 9.1% year-on-year to RMB311.0 billion, with an EBITDA margin of 36.7%. EBITDA accounted for 41.4% of telecommunications services revenue, representing a 0.4 percentage point increase year-on-year. Return on equity was 9.8%, up by 0.3 percentage points compared to 2020. Our capital expenditure totaled RMB183.6 billion and we maintained a healthy cash flow, with free cash flow amounting to RMB131.2 billion, or an increase of 3.2% year-on-year.
For the “Customer” market, we furthered the integrated operation of data access, applications, and customer benefits, while competing in the market in a rational and regulated way to drive an industry-wide value uplift. We stepped up efforts to encourage customers to switch from 4G to 5G and to create more synergy between the “Customer” market and the “Home” and “Business” markets, expanding our 5G customer base and value and continuously boosting personal information and communications consumption. At the same time, we implemented more measures to carry out customer segmentation and precision marketing and to generate revenue from our members. Through promoting diversified and dedicated products, applications and customer benefits, and further differentiating the services on offer from our three major brands (GoTone, M-zone and Easy Own), we continued to enhance customer value and user experience. In 2021, revenue from the “Customer” market reversed its downward trajectory and recorded positive growth, increasing by 1.4% year-on-year to RMB483.4 billion. Our mobile customer base reached 957 million, with a net addition of 14.97 million customers. Of these, 387 million customers were our 5G package customers – a net increase of 222 million customers. The scale of growth anchored us at the forefront of the industry. The number of customers with integrated benefit products reached 190 million, with a net addition of 112 million customers. The number of monthly active users of our cloud product “and-Caiyun” increased 32.43 million to reach 135 million. Thanks to the traction created by the upgrade of 5G and the incremental value engendered by integrated operations, the ARPU (average revenue per user per month) of our mobile business reached RMB48.8, up by 3.0% year-on-year.
For the “Home” market, with a focus on setting up a service suite that combines full-gigabit network connections with cloud-based applications, we strove to extend our smart home application services to the wider community, and to rural areas by supporting digital village development. To foster leadership in broadband services, we sped up the upgrade of gigabit broadband and optimized our end-to-end service and quality management system; to foster leadership in content-driven TV services, we further integrated the operation of big – and small-screen content and created a household information service portal consisting of broadband television, digital cinema and vertical content; to foster leadership in smart home services, we expanded our applications by covering more household service scenarios, boosting the uptake of household applications including smart home network deployment, home security and smart remote controls, and exploring more new application scenarios of HDICT (home data, information and communications technology) solutions. In 2021, revenue from the “Home” market maintained rapid growth and reached RMB100.5 billion, up by 20.8% year-on-year. We added 25.88 million household broadband customers, bringing the total number to 218 million, which was the highest in the industry. We also made significant progress in expanding our smart home business, with customers of our digital set-top box service “Mobaihe” reaching 167 million, accounting for 76.8% of our household customer base. Customers deploying smart home networks increased by 110.2% year-on-year, while those using our home security services and smart remote controls grew by 164.7% and 132.3%, respectively. Household broadband blended ARPU increased 5.6% year-on-year to reach RMB39.8. The value contribution from smart home applications grew significantly.
For the “Business” market, drawing on our innovative computing and network integration and our well-established nationwide localized services, we focused on key industries to foster the scale and integrated development of networks, cloud, and DICT. In 2021, the revenue from the “Business” market maintained rapid growth to reach RMB137.1 billion, up by 21.4% year-on-year. We gained 4.99 million corporate customers, bringing the total to 18.83 million. The revenue from DICT amounted to RMB62.3 billion, with an increase of 43.2% year-on-year, contributing 2.7 percentage points to the telecommunications services revenue growth. We nurtured our differentiated advantages in the convergences of cloud and networks, cloud and big data, cloud and intelligence, and cloud and edge computing, further strengthening our product structure with the goal of expediting our development to become a top-tier player in this space. Mobile cloud revenue amounted to RMB24.2 billion, up by 114% year-on-year. For 5G vertical industry sectors, we created an image of industry superiority and continued to make full use of our 5G industry-leading position to spearhead the development of dedicated network and promote the deep assimilation of 5G applications into industry sectors. A number of industry segments have seen their application solutions entering large-scale replication phase, and these efforts have underscored our leadership in 5G. We launched 200 leading 5G showcases, signed agreements with more than 2,800 high-quality commercial projects and developed 1,590 5G dedicated network projects, bringing the DICT contract value to more than RMB16.0 billion. We have started implementing these projects at scale across a wide range of industries, covering smart mining, smart factories, smart grid, smart metallurgy, smart ports and smart hospitals. In terms of Industrial Internet, we have built a “1+1+1+N” product suite and further promoted the deep integration of 5G and Industrial Internet. Considering the differentiated needs of industry customers, we have built a manageable and controllable 5G dedicated industry network that is adaptive to industry development with device-cloud integration, helping the industry boost digital transformation and upgrading.
For the “New” market, upholding the spirit of innovation, entrepreneurship and originality, we strove for new breakthroughs in the “New” market by fostering synergetic growth across four key areas: international business, equity investment, digital content, and FinTech. Our efforts have yielded notable results. In 2021, revenue from the “New” market achieved rapid double-digit growth, increasing by 34.2% year-on-year to RMB30.3 billion. In the international business, we deepened synergy between the domestic and international markets and sped up the introduction of our quality and proven capabilities to overseas markets, with the goal of further optimizing the deployment of international resources and enhancing our international operations. In 2021, our international business revenue amounted to RMB13.3 billion, representing an increase of 20.1% year-on-year. In terms of equity investment, we used the capital to achieve value growth, ecosystem formation, and synergy creation with a range of industries. We persisted in the dual approach of combining direct investment and investment in funds, focusing strategically on key areas. By establishing the dual links through industry and capital, we nurtured the digitalized and intelligent industry ecosystem. In 2021, our equity investment income accounted for 10.3% of our net profit. With regards to digital content and FinTech, we have developed high-quality Internet products in areas including videos, games, VR/AR, and payment systems. By constantly reinforcing our capabilities in combining scenarios, content, and operations, we expanded the scale of these products and enhanced user experience. In 2021, the revenue generated from digital content grew by 47.1% year-on-year and the number of monthly active users of MIGU Video across all platforms was up by 45.0% year-on-year. The revenue from Internet Finance increased 102.1% year-on-year and the number of monthly active users of “and-Wallet” also showed an increase of 155.7% year-on-year. During the Beijing Winter Olympics, MIGU Video’s ubiquitous and immersive live coverage of the events won wide recognition and reached a cumulative 34 billion viewership on programmes related to the Olympics. MIGU Video was one of the most downloaded apps in the Apple App Store, delivering 71.8 billion instances of brand exposure for China Mobile.
In 2021, our capital expenditure amounted to approximately RMB183.6 billion. In 2022, we expect total capital expenditure to stand at approximately RMB185.2 billion, which will be primarily spent on areas including constructing premium 5G network, a ubiquitous and integrated computing force network, and an industry-leading smart mid-end platform, and will support the development of CHBN businesses. Of the total capital expenditure, 5G-related capital expenditure will account for approximately RMB110.0 billion. These funds will come mainly from cash flow from operating activities.
The Board recommends a cash dividend of 60% of the profit attributable to equity shareholders for the full year of 2021. It also recommends a final dividend payment of HK$2.43 per share for the year ended 31 December 2021, an increase of 38.0% year-on-year. Together with the interim dividend of HK$1.63 per share already paid, total dividend for the full year of 2021 amounted to HK$4.06 per share, an increase of 23.4% from that of 2020. To create higher returns for our shareholders and share the results of our operating gains, after giving full consideration to the Company’s profitability, cash flow conditions and future development needs, in the three-year period from 2021, the profit to be distributed in cash for each year will gradually increase to 70% or above of the profit attributable to equity shareholders of the Company for that year. The Company will strive to create more value for shareholders.
We will embrace the new phase of development, fully, accurately and comprehensively implement the new principles of development, and devote ourselves to the new paradigm to promote high-quality development. We will pursue stable progress while forging ahead with a steadfast focus on innovation-driven development. At the same time, we will advance towards the new position of becoming a world-class information services and sci-tech innovation enterprise and implement our new strategy of becoming a world-class enterprise by building a dynamic “Powerhouse”. We will drive new infrastructure, integrate new elements and instigate new growth momentum, striving to achieve favourable growth in telecommunications services revenue and net profit and consistently creating greater value for our shareholders and customers.