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China Mobile acquisitions caution proved right
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By staff reporter He Shan

Speaking on the sidelines of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, China Mobile CEO Wang Jianzhou said China Mobile has a strategy for international expansion but has been proceeding prudently. The company held off from overseas purchases two years ago when assets were expensive and since then asset prices have plummeted by 50-60 percent, proving it was wise to be cautious, said Wang.

Wang Jianzhou, CEO of China Mobile, talks to journalists on the sidelines of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, Beijing, March 4, 2009. (He Shan/China.org.cn)

"We have made a strategic decision to expand our international market. We set up our first overseas branch company in Pakistan and it is operating smoothly," Wang said. In February 2007 China Mobile also acquired Pakistan's fifth largest mobile operator Paktel for US $400 million.

Wang added the company's main focus remained the home market. "Currently 50 percent of Chinese mobile phone users are China Mobile clients. But there is still great potential in the domestic market, especially in the countryside. Many of our new clients come from the countryside. So the domestic market remains our top priority," he said.

With regard to mobile phone charges, Wang said there is no plan to cut charges in the short run. But charges are being reduced year on year. "Network expansion and lower costs creates room to reduce charges. Last year we slashed mobile phone roaming charges by a big margin," Wang noted.

On jobs, Wang said that though many domestic businesses have been affected by the crisis, China Mobile has no plans to make cuts. China Mobile is still growing at a fast pace and is recruiting graduate students and overseas specialists, he said.

Wang also said China Mobile's TD-SCDMA (Time Division-Synchronous Code Division Multiple Access) network is relatively mature and TD mobile devices have greatly improved. But mobile quality is still a problem and there are not enough brands on the market. Wang said China Mobile is willing to cooperate with international manufacturers on research and development of terminals.

At the 2009 Mobile World Congress held in Barcelona this February, Wang proposed the convergence of TDD (Time Division Duplex) and FDD (Frequency Division Duplex) standards in the LTE (Long Term Evolution) standard.

(China.org.cn, translated by Zhang Ming'ai March 4, 2009)

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