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Diversification, IPO, digital systems in CTC's future plans

By Ma Si | China Daily | Updated: 2017-03-02 07:56

China Tower Corp is moving into new business areas, as it steps up its efforts to make better use of its 1.7 million telecoms towers across the country.

In an industrial park in Nanjing, capital of Jiangsu province, stands a smart electric pole. It is equipped with base stations which can receive telecoms signals, an air monitor, surveillance cameras and an advertising board. When connected to electricity, it can also function as a charging point for electric cars.

Such telecoms towers have been put into use in Nanjing, Hangzhou and other cities. It is part of broad efforts by China Tower to diversify its business, amid expectations that the number of towers will surge in the coming years.

Tong Jilu, general manager of China Tower, said: "In the near future, the number of telecom towers will be higher in our cities. With access to both wired and mobile networks and linked to a good power supply, our towers can be shared by different industries."

Currently, the country's top three telecoms carriers have a combined 94 percent stake in China Tower. China Reform Holdings Corp, a government-backed investment firm, accounts for the remaining 6 percent.

China Tower aims to go public this year, so as to broaden the financing channels, optimize the capital structure and improve corporate governance.

Xiang Ligang, a telecoms expert and chief executive of the telecoms industry website, said telecom towers are valuable assets because they occupy real estate, connected to the internet and electricity.

"Although it takes three to five years to build a nationwide network of towers, the telecoms infrastructure can be of great appeal and is irreplaceable once established," Xiang said.

China Tower is also partnering with the China Earthquake Administration to build a digital system which can better collect real time earthquake data. To take advantage of telecoms towers' ability to send and receive digital signals, the Beijing-based company has also teamed up with to leverage China's Beidou satellites to offer better mapping and navigation services.

Peter Liu, research director at consultancy Gartner Inc, said it was of great importance for China Tower to experiment with new business opportunities, because that would help prepare for future volatility in the telecoms industry.

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