Business / Companies

Tycoon to buy Israeli satellite operator

By LYU CHANG (China Daily) Updated: 2016-08-26 07:57

Tycoon to buy Israeli satellite operator

Chinese tycoon Wang Jing waves after attending a media conference in Managua, Nicaragua, December 23, 2014. [Photo / VCG]

A company owned by Chinese tycoon Wang Jing is taking over an Israeli satellite operation firm for $285 million.

Wang said the deal is expected to help Beijing Xinwei Telecom Technology to access "scarce resources" in outer space, as the number of available positions on some satellite orbits is falling.

Wang is known for his plan to build a $50 billion canal project spanning Nicaragua, connecting the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.

Beijing Xinwei is to acquire a 100 percent stake in Spacecom Satellite Communications through its unit Luxembourg Space Telecommunications, the technology company said in a statement on Wednesday.

"After the acquisition, we will be able to provide services to 95 percent of the world's people and gain a professional team with 20 years' experience in satellite operations," the statement said.

A researcher at the China Academy of Space Technology, who declined to be named, said this makes Xinwei the first private company to acquire scarce orbit resources in an industry that is highly controlled and run mainly by the military.

"This access is a really valuable asset, because the number of available slots on high Earth orbits is quite limited, and only a few permits are granted each year to countries around the world for the launch of satellites," the researcher said.

High Earth orbit refers to an orbit around the Earth at an altitude higher than 36,000 km.

"The United States and Russia dominate the satellite market in terms of manufacturing and operating, and this deal will unlock the potential for Chinese satellite companies," the researcher said.

The deal is not the first foray for Beijing Xinwei, which specializes in mobile network development and space industry products.

In 2013, the company launched a satellite, jointly developed with Tsinghua University, aimed at providing a cheaper alternative to foreign satellite communication providers in China's ocean and desert areas.

Founded in 1989, Spacecom operates AMOS, a series of Israeli communications satellites.

The company presells services and capacity to customers including broadcasters, telecom providers, communications companies and government agencies. The satellites it controls cover the Middle East, Central Europe, Asia and Africa.

Spacecom is also building an Amos 6 satellite for Facebook to provide broadband services directly to mobile phones.

Zhao Lei contributed to this story.

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