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China Unicom splashes out in Shanghai

CHINA Unicom's Shanghai branch yesterday signed agreements with the Shanghai municipal government to invest 20 billion yuan (US$2.94 billion) in the next three years to improve communications technology and infrastructure for the city and World Expo 2010. The investment should create 10,000 jobs.

According to the pact, Shanghai Unicom will upgrade the 3G network, develop mobile applications, and prepare for the World Expo, the telco said yesterday.

"The investment will stimulate local economic development and provide conditions for Shanghai to establish itself as a financial and shipping center," Shanghai Unicom said in a statement.

Shanghai Mayor Han Zheng, Vice Mayor Ai Baojun and China Unicom's Chairman Chang Xiaobing attended the signing ceremony.

Shanghai Unicom shares jumped 4.67 percent to close at 7.14 yuan on the local index yesterday.

The telco will invest 8 billion yuan on communications infrastructure for the World Expo, including the improvement of its 3G network, based on WCDMA (wideband code division multiple access) technology. The carrier will also develop applications such as mobile payment, mobile tourist guide and mobile banking, based on the high-speed 3G network.

China issued 3G licenses to carriers in January. The 3G network allows services such as video calls and film downloads to handset.

Meanwhile, Shanghai Unicom signed agreements with the China Eastern Airlines Co and China Merchants Bank to cooperate on products, services and distribution channels.

This year the three telcos, China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom, expect to invest 17 billion yuan in Shanghai, 30 percent more than last year. Last year telcos made 40.5 billion yuan in Shanghai, 13 percent more than 2007, the Shanghai Economic and Information Technology Development Commission said.



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