China's central government has approved a plan to set up a satellite telecommunications operator, ChinaSat, to further break up the market monopoly of the telecommunications industry.
BEIJING, July 14 (Asia Pulse) - A spokesman for the Ministry of Information Industry (MII), Cheng Guanghui, said that the plan to create ChinaSat had been approved by the State Council.
Early this year, the former state-owned China Telecom was divided to two parts - China Telecom and China Mobile. Other major competitors include China Unicom, China Netcom, and China Jitong.
While giving more decision-making rights to telecoms firms in their daily operation, the government tightened control of industrial standards.
"The Telecommunications Administration Regulations is now under the examination and to be approved by the State Council," Cheng said. He noted that China had exerted efforts to improve market access and standards of its telecommunications sector.
"Meanwhile, we have worked hard to formulate the information laws and regulations so as to meet the challenges brought by China's accession into the World Trade Organization," he said.
The efforts also include revising the tariff regulations, according to Cheng. MII is now working with taxation authorities to draft implementation rules of tax incentives for computer software and integrated circuit companies and is also drafting a catalogue of duty-free integrated circuit goods by consulting with foreign trade and customs authorities.
Early this year, MII implemented the Telecommunications Service Standards to encourage telecoms operators to improve service equality.
Cheng also predicted a boost in e-commerce in the country in the next three years, saying the trade volume of e-commerce was expected to reach 800 million yuan this year and to top 10 billion yuan ($US1.2 billion US dollars) in 2002.
According to MII statistics, China now has more than 20million computers and an electronic information network which covers most cities around the country.
More than 34,000 Chinese companies have registered their domain names on the Internet, with more than 1,000 e-commerce websites.
MII figures show that by the end of May, 2000, the number of Internet users in China has topped 10 million. China now also has the world's second-largest fixed telephone network and the third-largest mobile telephone network. By the end of May, China had 124 million users of fixed telephones and more than 56 million cellular phone users.
China's telecommunications operation and service sectors saw 27.1% growth to reach 123.47 billion yuan in revenue in the first five months.
In the five-month period, China turned out 2.08 million personal computers, more than doubling the figure for the same period of last year, Cheng said.