China Unicom, Alibaba and Tencent spur on investment rumours

Natalie Bannerman
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China Unicom announce that it is to open a number of operating centres in China with Alibaba and Tencent, further fuelling rumours of a partnership between the companies

China Unicom has confirmed reports that it is to open a number of operating centres in China with Tencent in Shenzhen and Alibaba in Hangzhou.

The confirmation follows a denial last month by China Unicom that it was introducing Alibaba and Tencent as private sector stakeholders. The move makes it the first state-owned enterprise in China to implement the mixed ownership reform.

Recent media reports indicate that a number of Chinese internet companies, led by Alibaba and Tencent, are set to invest a total of $10 billion into China Unicom, although the company has said it is still in negotiations with potential backers and no deals have been signed.

The Chinese government hopes to drive further private investment in state-owned companies through the mixed ownership reform. The legislation, which has been approved by the National Development and Reform Commission, attempts to improve infrastructure and competition in the telecoms sector, through the added investment.