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Huge spending to meet Shanghai's IT ambitions

CHINA Telecom's Shanghai branch yesterday signed agreements with the Shanghai municipal government to invest 26 billion yuan (US$3.82 billion) within two years to boost the city's economy and construct IT infrastructure for the World Expo 2010 to be held in the city.

According to the pact, Shanghai Telecom will upgrade network, create jobs, better serve consumers and prepare for the World Expo, the telco said in a statement.

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

Shanghai Mayor Han Zheng, Vice Mayor Ai Baojun and China Telecom General Manager Wang Xiaochu attended the signing ceremony.

The telco will invest 13 billion yuan, half of the total budget, on IT infrastructure to help Shanghai become the telecom center in the Asia Pacific region. The projects to be constructed include the building of data recovery centers, Wi-Fi spots and undersea cables.

From this year to next year, Shanghai Telecom is expected to create 10,000 new jobs in the city. It aims to expand its call center employee base from 400 to 5,000 to prepare for a hotline service for the World Expo.

The telco will also increase the family Internet access speed from 2 Megabytes per second now to 20 MBps in 2012.

This year, the three telcos - China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom - expect to invest a total of 17 billion yuan in Shanghai, a 30-percent jump compared with last year. Last year, the local telecom revenue was 40.5 billion yuan, a rise of 13 percent on year, the Shanghai Economic and Information Technology Development Commission said.



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