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China Mobile moves west

BEIJING-China Mobile Communications announced it will invest 50 billion yuan (US$6 billion) in mobile-phone infrastructure in the western part of China during the next three years. During the past three years, the company has already invested 54 billion yuan (US$6.5 billion) in upgrading and expanding its western network.

The region currently accounts for only 10 percent of its network, but is expected to grow to 23 percent by 2005.

The mobile-phone penetration rate is more than 19 percent in the East, but only 7 percent in the West, with 90 percent of China Mobile’s customers living in the eastern part of the country.

A more developed western network could be injected into China Mobile Communications Hong Kong-listed subsidiary China Mobile (HK), possibly in the second half of next year. The parent company retains ownership of 10 provincial networks, the others having already been transferred to the listed arm.

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