PCCW Chairman Richard Li, who negotiated a $1-billion investment from China’s second-largest phone company, plans to start businesses including broadband television and 3G mobile services in mainland China to make up for slumping Hong Kong sales. China is planning to issue licenses to operate 3G networks and Li said there is “a good chance” China Network will win a permit and that regulators will allow PCCW to take a 49-percent stake in cell phone ventures.
China had 330 million cell-phone and 313 million fixed-line subscribers at the end of November, more than the population of the U.S. The country’s broadband Internet subscribers doubled to 26.3 million last year, according to Beijing-based market research firm BDA China Ltd.
China has yet to demonstrate that it is opening its telecommunications market, which had total sales of $70 billion in 2004, according to BDA managing director Duncan Clark. So far only AT&T Corp., which bought a minority stake in a mobile operator in Shanghai’s Pudong district, has entered, he said. Full Story.