5/13/200, China's central government today released guidelines on further encouraging private investment in a wider range of key industries including telecom industry, a move indicating the authorities are placing more importance in private investment's role in sustaining economic growth.
The State Council published the guidelines stating that the Chinese government will make efforts to create "a fair and transparent environment" for private investment and "enlarge the scope for entry of private investment". The government will encourage private investment to enter infrastructure sectors including transportation, water, oil, natural gas, power, mining and telecommunications, according to the statement. And private investment is also encouraged to flow into public utilities, social utilities, financial services, commerce and trade and defense.
In these guidelines, the section 2.9 is about telecom industry. It writes:” Government encourages private investment to take part in the telecommunication construction, encourages private sector to enters basic telecom service providing market by buying shares of state-hold service providers, supports private sector to develop value-added services, strengthen the monitoring and controlling of monopoly and unsuitable competition behavior in telecom industry, promotes fair competition and sharing of the resources. "
By the end of 2008, private enterprises had 8 percent market shares of China's telecommunications industry. The most famous private enterprise who develops basic telecom service in mainland China is Tailong telecom in Chengdu, Sichuan province. Retired from the position of high-ranked manager of Chengdu Telecom, Mr. Zhang,xianqing founded Tailong (www.tlw.cn) in year 1998. The main business of the company is to provide broadband and phone service based on their own access network. On the market, Tailong often plays a role that helps weaker service providers like Railcom or Unicom against Chengdu Telecom. Through cooperation with some real estate developers and local government, Tailong finds a niche market in several cities under the menace of telecom service providers and unclear policy environment. Tailong is one of the first FTTH service providers in mainland China. In year 2005, Tailong became the first customer of Amedia in China. Last year, they also deployed the Ethernet point to point FTTH equipments from Firstmile of Shenzhen.
Since day one, China Telecom never stops to criticize Tailong as a bad competitor. Although medias always take Tailong as an example against state-hold carriers’ monopoly, the business for Tailong is always difficult. For private company like Tailong, it seems government doesn’t like them to be in the telecom industry.
"The guidelines signal that the Chinese government is attaching greater importance to private investment as the nation has realized it will have to rely more on the private enterprises to maintain sustainable economic growth, rather than State-owned enterprises," said Li Xiaogang, director of the Foreign Investment Research Center at Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences.
But "I am more concerned about detailed measures on how to implement the guidelines. I really hope the guidelines are not merely empty words".
If you want to know if the guidelines are empty words or not, just look at Tailong's development in the coming years.