Ty­coon to buy satel­lite op­er­a­tor

China Daily (USA) - - FRONT PAGE - By LYU CHANG in Bei­jing lvchang@chi­nadai­lyusa.com Zhao Lei con­trib­uted to this story.

A com­pany owned by Chi­nese ty­coon Wang Jing is tak­ing over an Is­raeli satel­lite op­er­a­tion firm for $285 mil­lion.

Wang said the deal is ex­pected to help Bei­jing Xin­wei Tele­com Tech­nol­ogy to ac­cess “scarce re­sources” in outer space, as the num­ber of avail­able po­si­tions on some satel­lite or­bits is fall­ing.

Wang is known for his plan to build a $50 bil­lion canal project span­ning Nicaragua, con­nect­ing the At­lantic and Pa­cific Oceans.

Bei­jing Xin­wei is to ac­quire a 100 per­cent stake in Space­com Satel­lite Com­mu­ni­ca­tions through its unit Lux­em­bourg Space Telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions, the tech­nol­ogy com­pany said in a state­ment on Wed­nes­day.

“Af­ter the ac­qui­si­tion, we will be able to pro­vide ser­vices to 95 per­cent of the world’s peo­ple and gain a pro­fes­sional team with 20 years’ ex­pe­ri­ence in satel­lite oper­a­tions,” the state­ment said.

A re­searcher at the China Academy of Space Tech­nol­ogy, who de­clined to be named, said this makes Xin­wei the first pri­vate com­pany to ac­quire scarce or­bit re­sources in an in­dus­try that is highly con­trolled and run mainly by the mil­i­tary.

“This ac­cess is a re­ally valu­able as­set, be­cause the num­ber of avail­able slots on high Earth or­bits is quite lim­ited, and only a few per­mits are granted each year to coun­tries around the world for the launch of satel­lites,” the re­searcher said.

High Earth or­bit refers to an or­bit around the Earth at an al­ti­tude over 36,000 km.

“The United States and Rus­sia dom­i­nate the satel­lite mar­ket in terms of man­u­fac­tur­ing and op­er­at­ing, and this deal will un­lock the po­ten­tial for Chi­nese satel­lite com­pa­nies,” the re­searcher said.

The deal is not the first foray for Bei­jing Xin­wei, which spe­cial­izes in mo­bile net­work de­vel­op­ment and space in­dus­try prod­ucts.

In 2013, the com­pany launched a satel­lite, jointly de­vel­oped with Ts­inghua Univer­sity, aimed at pro­vid­ing a cheaper al­ter­na­tive to for­eign satel­lite providers in ocean and desert ar­eas.

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