Vodafone, the world’s biggest mobile phone company, has taken a $2.5 billion stake in China’s biggest mobile operator. That buys only 2% of China Mobile (Hong Kong), the world’s second-biggest operator in terms of subscribers.
Vodafone would like to ultimately own between 15% and 20% of China Mobile, which has 39.3 million subscribers, giving the company a seat on the board.
The Vodafone investment came as China Mobile (Hong Kong) bought seven mobile networks from its parent China Mobile Communications for $32.84 billion, giving it a network covering 608 million people - almost half of China’s 1.2 billion population.
The Vodafone deal is expected to be completed in February 2001. Together, the two companies will develop mobile internet services in China as well as other mobile telephone investments in Asia.