The US-based international carrier AT&T has outlined plans to grow its revenues in China by 20% this year. While AT&T had big plans when it set up its USD25 million Chinese unit Symphony in Shanghai in 2000, strict government controls on foreign participation in the telecoms sector have meant it has made little headway in the massive local market. Steve Lowe, president of AT&T in the Asia-Pacific, told Reuters: “It’s a challenging market,” and added: “It’s very regulated, which puts a lot of control over what companies can and cannot do.” The US firm has invested around USD5 million in China over the last few years, a tiny fraction of the USD10 billion it has invested in Asia in the past three years.
Meanwhile, the Thailand-based telco True has said it too wants to make an impact in China’s fast-growing telecoms sector. True has confirmed it is exploring opportunities in China and is looking to set up business units to cover fixed line, wireless and internet services. The company’s president Supachai Chearavanont told local press: “We can’t limit our business to Thailand. If you move too slow in China, you may fail to catch the bandwagon.”