[photopress:Wang_Jianzhou_1.jpg,full,alignright]In spite of a small presence in Hong Kong, China Mobile’s footprint remains pretty much confined to its home but it is the company’s ambition to extend its reach well beyond China.
China Mobile is already — this has not been challenged in the financial press — the world’s biggest wireless company in terms of both subscribers and market capitalisation. Although, so far, China Mobile has only struck a deal with a Hong Kong-based wireless operator, China Resources Peoples, and confirmed its interests in Pakistan Telecom and Millicom, it has said publicly — many times — that overseas expansion is a long-term goal. Two sections of this item are in bold because the figures involved are, literally, staggering.
The company, which had cash of RMB 71.4bn ($9.5 bn) as of June 2006, is especially interested in the emerging markets.
Wang Jianzhou, chairman, said, ‘One of our advantages is scale. We do central procurement so our cost is low. Since we bought Peoples, it only has to pay half what it used to pay for the same equipment.’
Wang Jianzhou has also said that China Mobile was not in a hurry. There are still plenty of growth opportunities at home.
In November, China Mobile added a record number of subscribers, bringing its total number of users to 294m — almost as large as the population of the United States.
Perhaps more importantly, while the mobile penetration rate in China’s east coast cities has reached 48 per cent, only one in five people in the poorer central and western regions has mobile phones.
Zhang Dongming, research director at telecoms consultancy BDA in Beijing, said, ‘No matter what China Mobile plans to do in other markets, China is likely to remain its growth engine for some time. It has a dominant position and the market is still relatively young. I don’t worry about its growth potential here.’
Source: Financial Times Deutschland