China to block foreign control of telcos

Foreign investors will be blocked from controlling Internet, third-generation (3G) mobile and other telecommunications joint...

Foreign investors will be blocked from controlling Internet, third-generation (3G) mobile and other telecommunications joint ventures in China under the final deal struck over its accession to the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

A formal session of the WTO's China working party will approve Chinese membership today.

According to a briefing paper from WTO officials in Geneva: "Foreign service suppliers will be permitted to establish joint venture enterprises, without quantitative restrictions, and provide services in several cities. Foreign investment in the joint venture shall be no more than 25%."

This situation will be progressively liberalised over the next five years. Within one year of accession, "the areas will be expanded to include services in other cities and foreign investment shall be no more than 35%. Within three years, foreign investment shall be no more than 49%. And within five years of accession, there will be no geographic restrictions."

Information on tariff levels for IT products imported into China has yet to be released.

The treaty's general provisions include:

  • With respect to the right to trade, China will provide non-discriminatory treatment to all WTO Members. All foreign individuals and enterprises, including those not registered in China, will be accorded no less favourable treatment than that accorded to Chinese enterprises.


  • China will eliminate dual pricing practices, as well as differences in treatment for goods and services produced for sale in China and those produced for export.


  • Price controls will not be used to protect domestic industries or service providers.

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