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Telecom firms bring hope in Colombia

By Xinhua | China Daily | Updated: 2015-05-28 07:30

By connecting Colombians with the world, Chinese telecoms firms are doing a great job in facilitating the Colombian government's anti-poverty drive, one of its main missions.

ZTE Corp, for instance, China's leading telecoms equipment manufacturer, has said it is committed to reducing poverty in the South American country by supplying mobile devices and business services, promoting Internet access, and connecting people together.

"ZTE is contributing to supplying devices and services to improve the economy and develop the country. We offer training programs for the Colombian people and create job opportunities," said Zhu Yu, deputy-director of after-sales service at ZTE for Colombia.

"The Colombian government is using technology in the remote control field to allow people to communicate between themselves so that they can educate themselves and do business. We hope that in a few years, the majority of Colombians will have knowledge that will help improve their quality of life."

Zhu's company has been carrying out social and environmental programs in Colombia since 2012, and also offers help to other countries where it has a presence.

A latest example of this is Nepal. After the recent earthquake, its employees helped re-establish communication and sent humanitarian supplies such as medicines, tents and first aid equipment, Zhu said.

The Colombian economy is growing thanks to the government's security guarantee for foreign investors and citizens, said Zhu, which can increase its "technological purchasing power" for products made by the multinational company and other Chinese firms.

"We believe further investment will bring more market opportunities to Colombia and at the same time create more job opportunities for local communities," Zhu said.

"With our latest technology and devices at competitive prices, ZTE is attractive to Colombian operators and for the people that use our mobile devices."

Anna Jaguaribe, director of the Institute for Brazil-China Studies, said that with improved quality and advanced technology, Chinese products are no longer stereotyped as mass-produced low-cost goods of dubious quality, and can compete on par with Western brands.

"This competition can benefit consumers by pushing prices down," Jaguaribe said.

In addition to better quality and cheaper prices, the competition also generates more advanced technologies, she said.

Huawei Technologies Co Ltd, another Chinese telecoms giant, also provides services and products to the Colombian market, benefiting the development of remote areas.

The company worked together with a local fund to provide 1,800 tablet computers to schools in remote areas, and developed online courses for students of those schools in cooperation with local telecoms operators and educational software developers, according to Liu Song, a manager with Huawei's Colombian branch.

With the help of this project, which connects students in remote areas with online educational resources, local operators bought around 250,000 Huawei tablet computers in remote areas.

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