Huawei Marine ‘hasn’t bid’ on Chile’s trans-Pacific cable project

By Chen Qingqing Source:Global Times Published: 2019/7/17 21:13:41

Huawei's headquarters in Shenzhen, South China's Guangdong Province Photo: VCG

Huawei Marine, the submarine cable business of the tech giant, said it has not offered any bid for the feasibility study of Chile's proposed trans-Pacific project connecting South America with Asia, a decision that analysts said reflects the Chinese company's intention to play down its presence in Latin America. 

There is no trans-Pacific cable between Asia and Latin America, and all current submarine cables connecting these two regions are transferred from the US. As a result, the Chilean government has proposed the first submarine fiber-optic cable that would directly connect South America and Asia, Huawei Marine Networks Co said in a statement sent to the Global Times on Wednesday. 

"Although the government has opening bids for a feasibility study, it has not started any concrete delivery or bidding process, and Huawei Marine has not participated in any concrete bidding for a feasibility study," the company said. 

Chile on Friday took steps to move forward in building the cable, which has aroused the interest of Huawei and Japan's NEC, Reuters reported. 

The report said that Huawei and NEC submitted pre-feasibility studies for the cable in 2017, assessing potential routes across the Pacific Ocean.

The company has been shrinking some non-core businesses in a strategic way to counter external pressure, which might have led it to drop its plan for the cable project, Jiang Junmu, the chief writer at telecom industry news website, told the Global Times on Wednesday. 

"Since Latin America is always considered as the US' backyard, Huawei is likely to play down some business that might have aroused controversy," he said. 

Under the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative, China and Chile have agreed on enhancing infrastructure cooperation including building a trans-Pacific fiber-optic cable to enhance data and voice transmission between Asia and South America, according to media reports. 

Since January 2018, the Chilean government has been promoting the cable project and come up with two solutions. One was about connecting Japan and Chile with a total length of 24,000 kilometers at a cost of $600 million, and the other was a route from Shanghai to Chile of 22,800 kilometers costing $500 million, according to a post published on the website of the Embassy of China in Chile's economic and commercial counselor. 

Huawei said in June it would sell a 51 percent stake in Huawei Marine, to Hengtong Optic-Electric, according to Ren Zhengfei, founder of Huawei. "Huawei's subsea cable business is very successful. We're selling it not because of the US' crackdown, but because we consider that it is not closely related to our core business," he told a panel discussion on June 17. 

Huawei Marine has 90 projects both ongoing and completed, with a total length of 50,361 kilometers, mainly in Southeast Asia and Africa, according to its official website.


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