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China to Relax Foreign Ownership Limits on Mobile Services Providers

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China will open up seven telecom value added services (VAS) to foreign investors, but only for companies based in the Shanghai Free Trade Zone. Five companies will be permitted to be fully foreign owned, while the other two will need to be joint ventures.

Services with no cap for foreign ownership will include app stores, store and forward, domestic multi-party communication, call centers and home Internet access, according to Wen Ku, head of the telecom development department of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.

Online data and dealing analysis services will allow a foreign ownership of up to 55 percent.

The move is another step in opening up the country's telecom sector as China has already committed under the WTO to open information service, store-and-forward, and online data and dealing analysis services, with a 50-percent cap for foreign stake.

Enterprises that apply for the services should register and base their infrastructure in the Shanghai FTZ, and all services may be available to the whole country, except home Internet access services, which will be confined within the FTZ, Wen added.

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Tags: China