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Switching telecoms in China

01 December 2004

As Chinese operators await possible reorganization, Alan Burkitt-Gray interviews Li Zhengmao, vice president of China Unicom, the country's only integrated operator, with both GSM and CDMA mobile networks, and likely to be central to the country's telecoms strategy

 The Chinese telecoms business is in a state of rapid change. While manufacturers such as ZTE are busy expanding into international markets, telecoms operators at home in China are facing the prospect of reorganization.

The first hint of that started in October when — with inevitable government influence — the largest operators swapped their management around. This was believed to be part of an attempt to head off fierce competition from the main competitors over who would get China's imminent 3G licences.

Wang Jianzhou, until now president of China Unicom, became president of China Mobile, replacing Zhang Ligui who retired because of age. On the same day, Wang Xiaochu left China Mobile, where he was vice president, to become president of China Telecom.

Meanwhile Chang Xiaobing, former deputy general manager at China Telecom, has become the new chairman of China Unicom.

Such senior management changes could only have occurred with government...






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