China plans $500 million subsea internet cable to rival US-backed project

Chinese nation-owned telecom firms are growing a $500 million undersea fiber-optic net cable community that would hyperlink Asia, the Middle East and Europe to rival a comparable US-backed mission, 4 human beings worried inside the deal advised Reuters. The plan is an indication that an intensifying tech battle between Beijing and Washington risks tearing the fabric of the net.

China’s 3 foremost vendors – China Telecommunications Corporation (China Telecom), China Mobile Limited and China United Network Communications Group Co Ltd(China Unicom) – are mapping out one of the international’s maximum superior and far-reaching subsea cable networks, consistent with the four human beings, who have direct understanding of the plan.Known as EMA (Europe-Middle East-Asia), the proposed cable would hyperlink Hong Kong to China’s island province of Hainan, earlier than snaking its manner to Singapore, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and France, the four people stated. They requested now not to be named because they had been now not allowed to speak about capacity change secrets.

The cable, which would value about $500 million to complete, might be manufactured and laid through China’s HMN Technologies Co Ltd, a fast-growing cable company whose predecessor agency changed into majority-owned through Chinese telecom giant Huawei Technologies Co Ltd, the human beings stated.

They said HMN Tech, which is majority-owned by using Shanghai-listed Hengtong Optic-Electric Co Ltd, could acquire subsidies from the Chinese nation to construct the cable.

China Mobile, China Telecom, China Unicom, HMN Tech, and Hengtong did no longer reply to requests for remark.

The Chinese foreign ministry stated in a announcement to Reuters that it “has constantly encouraged Chinese enterprises to carry out overseas investment and cooperation” without commenting without delay on the EMA cable mission.

News of the deliberate cable comes inside the wake of a Reuters file final month that revealed how america authorities, worried approximately Beijing eavesdropping on net facts, has efficaciously thwarted a number of Chinese undersea cable initiatives abroad over the last four years. Washington has additionally blocked licenses for deliberate personal subsea cables that might have connected the US with the Chinese territory of Hong Kong, consisting of tasks led with the aid of Google LLC, Meta Platforms, Inc and Amazon.Com Inc.

Undersea cables carry greater than ninety five% of all international internet traffic. These high-velocity conduits for many years have been owned by way of organizations of telecom and tech corporations that pool their assets to build those significant networks so that records can flow seamlessly round the sector.

But those cables, which can be at risk of spying and sabotage, have come to be weapons of impact in an escalating opposition between the US and China. The superpowers are battling to dominate the superior technologies that would determine economic and navy supremacy in the decades ahead.

The China-led EMA undertaking is intended to immediately rival any other cable presently being constructed by using US company SubCom LLC, referred to as SeaMeWe-6 (Southeast Asia-Middle East-Western Europe-6), so as to additionally join Singapore to France, thru Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and 1/2 a dozen other nations along the course.The consortium at the SeaMeWe-6 cable – which at the start had protected China Mobile, China Telecom, China Unicom and telecom carriers from several different nations – first of all picked HMN Tech to construct that cable. But a a success US government strain campaign flipped the contract to SubCom closing year, Reuters stated in March.

The US blitz covered giving tens of millions of bucks in education grants to overseas telecom firms in go back for them selecting SubCom over HMN Tech. The US Commerce Department additionally slapped sanctions on HMN Tech in December 2021, alleging the enterprise intended to accumulate American technology to assist modernize China’s People’s Liberation Army. That flow undermined the task’s viability by making it impossible for owners of an HMN-built cable to promote bandwidth to US tech corporations, typically their largest clients.

China Telecom and China Mobile pulled out of the undertaking after SubCom gained the agreement remaining yr and, at the side of China Unicom, commenced planning the EMA cable, the four human beings concerned said. The three country-owned Chinese telecom corporations are expected to very own more than half of the new network, however they may be also hanging offers with overseas partners, the human beings said.

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