China Telecoms to Fund ‘Rival’ $500m Undersea Cable to Asia
By Asia Financial
April 8, 2023
The Europe-Middle East-Asia (EMA) cable project is part of the growing tech war with the United States, and aims to create a Chinese link that rivals a similar US-backed project
China’s telecom giants are funding a $500-million undersea fibre-optic internet cable network that will link Europe and the Middle East to Asia.
The EMA (Europe-Middle East-Asia) cable project is part of the growing tech war between the two superpowers, and aims to create a Chinese link that rivals a similar US-backed project.
China’s three main carriers – China Telecommunications Corporation (China Telecom), China Mobile Ltd and China United Network Communications Group Co Ltd (China Unicom) – are mapping out one of the world’s most advanced and far-reaching subsea cable networks, according to four sources, who have direct knowledge of the plan.
The proposed cable would link Hong Kong to China’s island province of Hainan, before snaking its way to Singapore, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and France, the four people said. They asked not to be named because they were not allowed to discuss potential trade secrets.
The cable, which would cost approximately $500 million to complete, would be manufactured and laid by China’s HMN Technologies Co Ltd, a fast-growing cable firm whose predecessor company was majority-owned by Chinese telecom giant Huawei Technologies, the people said.
They said HMN Tech, which is majority-owned by Shanghai-listed Hengtong Optic-Electric Co Ltd, would receive subsidies from the Chinese state to build the cable.
China Mobile, China Telecom, China Unicom, HMN Tech, and Hengtong did not respond to requests for comment.
The Chinese foreign ministry said in a statement it “has always encouraged Chinese enterprises to carry out foreign investment and cooperation” without commenting directly on the EMA cable project.
News of the planned cable comes in the wake of a report last month that revealed how the US government, concerned about Beijing eavesdropping on internet data, has successfully thwarted a number of Chinese undersea cable projects abroad over the past four years.