Industry giants and SMEs alike have spent the last four years scrambling to invest in the opportunities along China’s Belt and Road initiative. According to a report from PwC, the total value of invested projects across the three continents grew at a compound annual growth rate of 33% in 2016, out ranking China’s 27% for the same period. As these investments continue to pour in, the demand has spiked for supporting infrastructure to balance discrepancies in development across the Belt and Road’s global network.
It is in this space that China Telecom Global (CTG) thrives, according to CEO Deng Xiao Feng (pictured). The key, he says, is strategic partnership. “International telecommunication depends on collaboration,” says Deng. “It is our mission to nurture economic development through connectivity and building relationships is fundamental to its success.”
With an expansive network of terrestrial and submarine cables across Asia, North America, South America, Europe, Australia and Africa, CTG is uniquely positioned to support enterprises and carriers exploring new markets. Deng attributes this to having China as CTG’s home court. Currently, its parent company China Telecom serves over 123 million broadband users, 61 million IPTV users and 215 million mobile users.
“China Telecom has pioneered telecommunications in China since its economic reforms were implemented, and witnessed the industry transform over the decades,” Deng says. “The Chinese market itself is incredibly complex, with a robust mix of cities and rural areas. Addressing each area’s unique needs in terms of infrastructure has equipped us to deliver the same capabilities to the rest of the world, helping partners in market achieve what we have done in China.”
To deliver on its promise, CTG is collaborating with local carriers across the Belt and Road routes to improve in-country network operations, as well as bolster maintenance and support services. What the company stands to gain from these cross-border partnerships is a better understanding of each country’s local culture and regulations, which then inform its specific needs. “Our approach needs to be localized, tailor-made for different scenarios to enhance production and services levels, and create more jobs, ultimately facilitating economic growth,” Deng says.
While adapting to each market is easy, the challenge, says Deng, lies in evolving to help businesses keep pace as their industries are experiencing wave after wave of disruption. “This is an extensive and profound reality that has gained tremendous momentum over the last four years,” he says. “Companies have to be agile, or they won’t survive.”
Looking to the future, CTG has invested heavily in innovation. Its endgame is to eliminate the disparity between disruptors and the companies being disrupted, fostering a community built on connection, rather than competition. The company is currently enhancing its repertoire of offerings with emerging products and services such as cloud computing, ICT and MVNO, as well as building data centers to support those capabilities. “Imagine the data ecosystems that will convene along the Belt and Road once those routes are optimized with connectivity and bandwidth,” says Deng. “China Telecom Global is prepared to support that progress and usher in a new era of growth.”
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