China Telecom seeks foreign strategic partner

MUMBAI: China Telecom is in search of an international strategic partner. The Hong Kong-listed unit of China's biggest fixed-line operator, through such an alliance, aims to raise its profile in global telecommunications.


China Telecom chairman Wang Xiaochu said the company would eventually seek to bring in foreign strategic investors, to benefit from international management experience. According to Wang, the company hasn't initiatied any formal talks with potential investor or partner.

In April this year, the state-run parent of China Netcom Group, China Telecom's biggest domestic rival, bought a 20 per cent stake in PCCW. PCCW Limited is the largest communications provider in Hong Kong and one of Asia's leading IT&T players.



According to Wang, the company expects broadband, mobile and fixed-line operations to each contribute a third of its revenue by that time. Wang made the comments after the company's annual general meeting in Hong Kong, the first one it has held in the territory and a rarity among H-share companies.

China Telecom currently doesn't have any mobile services, but it offers a localized wireless service known as Personal Handyphone System, or Xiaolingtong. Internet services, mainly broadband, contributed 9 per cent of the company's total revenue in 2004. Local telephone services, including fixed-line, phone booths and Xiaolingtong, took up half of total revenue.

Wang expects broadband subscriber growth this year to exceed last year's, when new additions reached 6.6 million. At the end of March, China Telecom had 15.7 million broadband customers.

Wang said the company's Internet Protocol Television service, which began a trial run late last year, has about 40,000 users. The service is now available in Shanghai and several main cities in Guangdong province.

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