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Huawei says company wants to build subsea cable from Chile to China

Edward Deng 16x9.jpg

Huawei Marine wants to build a subsea cable from Chile across the Pacific to China, a senior executive said at a conference in Santiago.

David Dou Yong, CEO of Huawei Chile, said at the company’s Huawei Cloud conference in the city this week that he wants Huawei Marine to bid for the contract.

“Huawei will be very actively participating in this business opportunity,” Yong said in an interview with Reuters at the conference. “This bidding process has several steps ... We are ready and we will follow the process until the bid to select a vendor to implement it starts and for sure we will be part of the tender process.”

It’s clear that Huawei is positioning Chile as its gateway into the South American market. Edward Deng (pictured), president of Huawei Cloud Global Market and formerly president of the company’s wireless solutions business, said at the event: “The Chile region is our first region in Latin America and more regions will be launched this year. We will empower governments and enterprises across Latin America.”

Huawei said that Chile is “the digital centre of Latin America” and therefore “a solid base for Huawei Cloud’s new region, which will serve Chile and the rest of Latin America”.

Zou Zhilei, president of Huawei Latin America Region, said: “Huawei has been serving Chile for 16 years and has earned the trust of customers, partners, institutions, universities, and governments in the country. Huawei Cloud’s mission here is to create a fertile environment for enterprises and governments to digitally transform and improve international competitiveness.”

Huawei Marine already has a contract to lay a cable along the coast of Chile to its southern tip. This is the 2,800km Fiber Óptica Austral (FOA), being built for Chile’s Comunicación y Telefonía Rural (CTR) and due to be in service later this year.

Huawei used the Santiago conference to launch its Chilean cloud data centre in a bid to gain a greater share of the Latin America market.

According to Capacity’s sister publication Data Economy, the data centre was launched at an event attended by Chile’s transportation and telecommunications minister Gloria Hutt and telecommunications undersecretary Pamela Gidi as well as the CEO of Huawei Chile.

Having been relatively isolated from the world’s subsea infrastructure, Chile is becoming more connected. In April Google completed its Curie cable from Los Angeles to Valparaiso. Angola Cables is also expanding its South Atlantic Cable System (SACS) from Fortaleza, Brazil, to both Argentina and Chile in a deal with Silica Networks, which runs a fibre network connecting cities in both countries.

A direct link to China would expand Chile’s connectivity hugely. The Chilean government said in July it would seek tenders for a cross-Pacific cable but it has not so far issued a call for tenders. Nor has it indicated the branches it would like such a cable to include.

Huawei Technologies, the Chinese vendor that is now on the US entity list, forbidding trade with US companies and citizens, has owned 51% of Huawei Marine since setting up a joint venture with Global Marine Systems in 2008.

However another Chinese company, Hengtong Optic-Electric, is set to buy Huawei’s 51% stake following an announcement in June. Hengtong is already a close partner of Huawei Marine: it is constructing the cable for the Chilean FOA project.

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