"The web may support the most universally popular of these - Unicode - but as the NYT rightly points out, few cell-phone SMS systems do."
Really? SMS messages can use UTF-16 coding, limiting the message length to 70 characters. Sending and receiving Chinese SMS messages depends on handset support, but, strangely enough, phones sold in China do have Chinese support, and have done for a long time. I've got an ancient Nokia 6150 hooked up to a PC using gnokii that has been happily sending Chinese SMS messages for years.
Even the 70 character limit is no problem, as words are only one, or sometimes two, characters, and no spaces are required.