Three major Chinese telecommunications companies, China Telecommunication Corporation, China Mobile Limited and China United Network Communications Group Co Ltd, are developing a $500 million submarine fiber optic cable network for the Internet that will compete with a similar project developed by US companies, Reuters reported.
According to four people familiar with the project, who wished to remain anonymous, the cable will link Asia, the Middle East and Europe: it will connect Hong Kong with the Chinese island province of Hainan, and then stretch to Singapore, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia. , Egypt and France.
Chinese companies developing the project have already signed memorandums of understanding with four telecommunications companies this year: France’s Orange SA, Pakistan Telecom, Telecom Egypt and Zain Saudi Arabia, a division of Kuwaiti mobile telecommunications company KSCP.
The cable will be manufactured and installed by HMN Technologies Co Ltd, which is majority-owned by Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei Technologies Co Ltd. According to sources, the project is partially funded by the state. The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs stressed that it has “always encouraged Chinese companies to invest and cooperate overseas.”
Submarine cables carry more than 95% of all international Internet traffic, and most of them are operated and controlled by US telecommunications companies. These types of networks are becoming a rivalry between the US and China, especially because of their vulnerability to espionage and sabotage.
The Chinese project will take over the American SeaMeWe-6 cable, which will connect Singapore to France via Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and other countries, and initially involved Chinese companies, which were later replaced by American corporations due to pressure from the US government. The Chinese cable is expected to be operational by the end of 2025.
Timothy Heath, a defense researcher at the RAND Corporation, a US think tank, said the growing rivalry between the US and China portends a further division of the global Internet infrastructure. “We appear to be on a path that will be led by the US and the internet ecosystem led by China,” he said.
Source: Juventud Rebelde