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Foreign telecom companies eye China market's growth prospects

By SHEN JINGTING  (China Daily)

08:26, September 13, 2012

China Mobile, together with other telecom operators in the country, have seen their business growth maintaining a strong upward momentum thanks to an increasing number of subscribers using smartphones and the rapid development of 3G technology in the country. [Photo/China Daily]

Foreign telecom operators have found ways to grow in the Chinese market, as China starts to show its potential and becomes an important revenue driver for them.

Because of regulatory restrictions, foreign telecom carriers are not allowed to conduct basic telecom businesses, such as operating wireless networks and providing phone-call services,in China.

The Chinese telecom market is dominated by three domestic operators — China Mobile Ltd, China Unicom Ltd and China Telecom Co Ltd.

However, international telecom companies have managed to explore other business opportunities and have benefited from China's rapid economic development in recent years.

One such company is BT Group Plc, Europe's largest telecom services wholesaler by revenue and a leading networked IT services provider.

BT, which entered the mainland market in 1985, targets multinational corporations with a presence in China and Chinese companies with operations across or outside the country, said Kevin Taylor, BT Asia-Pacific president.

Since the global economy is experiencing a downturn, especially in the European market, BT has started to pay more attention to emerging markets. BT announced an investment plan in September 2010 to rapidly expand its Asia-Pacific business, followed by similar plans for Latin America in October last year and Turkey, the Middle East and Africa earlier this year.

In the Asia-Pacific region, BT added 300 new employees earlier this year, including local leadership and additional professional-services staff. The total number of employees in the region has surpassed 2,500.

"We achieved a satisfactory business growth in China last year, a double-digit growth rate, and the business is even better this year," Taylor said.

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