May 23, 2011

China Mobile interested in Myanmar

China Mobile Ltd, the world’s largest mobile operator by market value, is seeking acquisition opportunities in emerging markets such as Myanmar to expand its foothold overseas, its chairman said on May 19.

The dominant mobile carrier in China invested around US$300 million last year in Pakistan, where the telecom sector has boomed over the past decade with around 100 million mobile phone subscribers.

China Mobile has already hit around 10 million subscribers in Pakistan, “and if we can break even next year, that will certainly give us more confidence to invest in emerging markets”, Wang Jianzhou, chairman of China Mobile, told a news conference after a shareholders’ meeting.

China Mobile has been trying to make inroads in overseas markets, though not all its attempts have been successful.

Its move to purchase a 12 percent stake in Taiwan’s Far Eastone process has been stalled due to the Taiwan government’s worries over national security.

Wang also said the company would not be issuing new shares if it decided to list A-shares in China, but gave no further details.

“We don’t need the money. We have enough cash,” Wang said.

Within its home market, China Mobile plans to spend around 10 billion yuan ($1.5 billion) this year to expand its Wi-Fi network, he said.

Like peers China Unicom and China Telecom Corp, China Mobile has been trying to reverse a decline in average revenue per user (ARPU) by attracting more users to value-added mobile services.

On May 19, company executives said they expected the company’s ARPU to fall further, in line with analysts’ views, as many users were from the lower end of the market in the country’s rural areas.

Source: Reuters