Shadow Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull has embarked on an impromptu tour of broadband facilities and networks throughout the greater Asian region, in what appears to be an effort to keep on the cutting edge of technology as part of the debate about Australia's own National Broadband Network (NBN).
The Liberal MP tweeted on Friday that he had spent "a very informative day discussing broadband and telecoms generally" with giant Chinese networking vendor Huawei at its massive manufacturing plant in Shenzhen.
At the facility, Turnbull was met by Huawei's senior corporate vice president and president, government and public affairs, Madam Lifang Chen (who has previously met Victorian IT Minister Gordon Rich-Phillips on the occasion of a partnership with RMIT University), as well as Huawei Australia's chief technical officer Peter Rossi.
Huawei, which recently won a contract worth hundreds of millions of dollars to replace the wireless component of VHA's mobile network, and is rapidly expanding its Australian presence, is understood to have issued a blanket invitation to Turnbull to visit the company in China for a tour.
However, Turnbull's visit to Shenzhen appears to have been more in the nature of a stop-off while in China in general, rather than a dedicated trip with the networking giant.
The MP's office said Turnbull was visiting a number of different countries on the trip, ranging from Hong Kong to Southern China, as well as South Korea and Singapore. South Korea is pursuing its own NBN plans, and Turnbull will meet with officials in the country after communicating his visit to the country's embassy in Australia.
Back in Australia, Turnbull has made headlines over the past week for several reasons, namely, his failed attempts to push through changes in legislation associated with the NBN, as well as continued lengthy criticism of the scheme in general.
However, the MP has also been vocal on the matter of Australia's pending carbon tax, repeating his support for a price on carbon on the ABC's Q&A program, despite the issue being the sticking point that lost him the Liberal leadership to Tony Abbott.
It appears the issue may be on Turnbull's mind overseas. "Whatever you think of nuclear power, a shift from burning coal to nukes in South China would work wonders for Hong Kong air," Turnbull wrote on Twitter on Saturday. "And Shanghai's and Beijing's."