Fiji "Regional Telecom Hub" -- China Daily

Source:China Daily
 
With modern infrastructure and a favorable business climate, Fiji is a hub for Chinese foreign direct investment

As the "Gateway to the South Pacific", Fiji is a small country that is thinking big as it bolsters its reputation by attracting major trade and investment from economic giants like China.


As an idyllic island paradise, Fiji has made huge strides in infrastructure development with the help of Chinese investors as Prime Minister Commodore Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama boosts Fijian-Sino links.


One of the first Pacific island countries to establish diplomatic relations with China 35 years ago, the country of 840,000 people opened its embassy in China in 2001 and has set itself a series of ambitious socioeconomic goals to become a regional business hub.


Blessed with many natural resources, including large agricultural, fisheries and forestry sectors, the nation boasts a wealth of investment opportunities across its diverse and growing economy.


Throughout the last decade, Fiji has enjoyed consistent export-led economic growth based on strong sales of sugar, gold and textiles.


Ministers in Suva, the capital city of Fiji, have identified China as a key trade partner for their new "Look North" approach - a policy that aims to focus efforts on countries to the north of the country.


The financial blueprint aims to double GDP by 2020, reduce poverty and unemployment, liberalize the financial services sector, boost the tourism industry and focus on renewable energies and the liberalized telecoms sector.


In his 2010 budget address, Bainimarama outlined his strategic vision for Fiji for the next decade. "The 'Look North' plan requires discipline, vision, legal changes, modernization and collaboration between the government, employees, employers, the financial sector and civil society," said Bainimarama.


According to the Chinese Ambassador to Fiji, Han Zhiqiang, China sees a tightening of bilateral bonds and the further development of friendly cooperation between the two countries in economic, cultural and educational sectors.


"As well as the economy, trade, culture, education, agriculture and investments, there is also a growing tourism market that is seeing more visitors from China and has enormous potential," Han said.


Fiji's telecoms sector is one of its most successful industries, with Chinese expertise and technology playing a key role in the development and continued expansion of fixed and mobile phone networks, plus fast and reliable Internet access,


Telecom Fiji Limited (TFL) is the sole provider of local and national telephony services, and owns the country's only public switched telephone network.


Owned by parent firm Amalgamated Telecom Holdings, TFL has a network comprising 55 telephone exchanges.


As an industry pioneer, TFL has invested significantly in state-of-the-art networks and satellite technology that connects thousands of business and residential customers.


"Fiji has a very modern telecoms infrastructure and is fortunate to have the Southern Cross fiber-optic cable that comes from Australia and New Zealand and connects to North America via Hawaii," said TFL Group Acting CEO Sakeasi Seru. "TFL has 150,000 customers, 75 percent of which are residential.


"We offer 100 percent coverage, thanks to our satellite connection that serves the remote areas and can provide companies looking to invest in remote areas with excellent satellite services."



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