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China to Heavily Invest in Ethnic Areas' Communication Industry (2001.06.25)
China is to speed up infrastructure construction of communication industry in ethnic minorities' areas in the coming five years. It is expected to complete an investment of 120 billion yuan in fixed assets. And the popularization rate of fixed-line telephones in the ethnic minorities' areas will reach 25 per hundred persons, and of mobile phones, 10 per hundred persons.

Lu Xinkui, deputy minister of information industry made a report on the situation of infrastructure construction of China's communication industry in minority nationalities' areas at the 15th assembly of NPC Ethnic Affairs Committee on Monday afternoon. By the end of May this year, local networks in five major minority nationalities' autonomous regions have already a had a capacity of 10.3185 million users, mobile phone users number 7.58 million, optical fibers total 127,000km. A transmission network with optical fibers in the main over major cities, counties and most villages and towns has been basically set up in these areas. There have been 5 million MP users and 8.66 million fixed-line telephone users in the five autonomous regions. The popularization rate of fixed-line telephones in Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region and Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region exceeded 10 lines per hundred persons, and the popularization rate of MPs in the two autonomous regions exceeded 4 per hundred persons, approaching the average national level.

Despite an outstanding development of infrastructure construction of communication in ethnic minorities' regions, Lu Xinkui added, there is still a big gap found from that in eastern developed areas. Most ethnic minorities' regions, especially rural areas, still report backward communications. High cost and low income of communication operation are shown due to a relatively sparse population and dispersed residence; a low market demand and low purchasing power; fierce market competition and inappropriate system to adapt to the development of market economy. So many factors bring about various difficulties barring a fast development of communication industry in China's minority nationalities' areas.

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