New Chinese intercontinental internet cable EMA, with a node in Hong Kong, is set to improve internet connectivity for millions of Africans.
State-owned companies China Telecom, China Mobile Limited, and China United Network Communications Group Co Ltd are planning to build a new fiber-optic network linking Asia, Africa, and Europe, sources close to the matter said, according to Reuters.
Called EMA, the project will cost about USD 500 million and will allow China to compete with the United States, which is backing a similar project.
The proposed cable will be manufactured and rolled out by the Chinese company HMN Technologies Co Ltd, and it is expected to link Hong Kong to the Chinese island province of Hainan, and then Singapore, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and France. Other countries along this route could also be connected to the infrastructure.
The EMA cable will compete directly with the proposed SeaMeWe-6 (Southeast Asia-Middle East-Western Europe-6).
This project comes after China Mobile and China Telecom withdrew from the SeaMeWe-6 consortium in 2022 under U.S. pressure. Washington notably militated for the contract for the construction of SeaMeWe-6 to be withdrawn from HMN Technologies and handed to U.S. company SubCom.
The new project is expected to improve Internet connectivity for millions of people around the world, especially in Africa.
Chinese telecom companies have already signed a partnership agreement with Telecom Egypt to land the cable in Egypt, Ecofin reported. Other operators on the continent have also been approached to join the consortium.