The rapid growth in China, and Asia's, FTTH market is driving the development of the next-generation of Chinese telecom vendors. Not long ago ZTE and Huawei were flying under the radar and slowly taking market share from established giants. Today they are almost household names.
While none of the new generation is in a position to be a real challenger to ZTE and Huawei, the rapid development of the market is introducing some new names to the global telecom industry that are growing rapidly.
Typically, these firms are either start-ups created by returning Chinese who are entrepreneurs and technologists, or state-owned firms, which grew from research grants to universities.
According to Ovum, FTTx is growing at a much faster rate in Asia than the rest of the world. By 2016, 50% of all wireline broadband subscribers in the Asia Pacific will be FTTXs compared to 16% in Europe and 14% in North America.
This will represent 100 million Chinese subscribers by 2016, largely off the back of a major infrastructure push by China Telecom.
This has created an attractive opportunity for a number of smaller Chinese vendors that now have the ability to at first develop their business domestically, and then take it to the world as FTTH subscribers grow outside of Asia.
Julie Kunstler, Ovum's principal analyst for optical components, names four companies which are taking advantage of this growth opportunity: Shenzhen Gongjin T&W, Cambridge Industries Group in Shanghai, Superxon and Wuhan's FiberHome (see sidebar: On the fast track ).
"There are millions of customer equipment premises devices shipping each quarter," says Kunstler. "In Q2 more than 6.5 million devices for FTTx were shipped worldwide and 80% ended up in China. So the market is still young in the sense that it is still growing."