China Telecom Studies Philippine Entry After Duterte Offer

(Bloomberg) -- China Telecommunications Corp. is studying an investment in the Philippines after President Rodrigo Duterte invited China to enter the Southeast Asian country and challenge local phone carriers PLDT Inc. and Globe Telecom Inc.

The Chinese government, which controls its phone carriers, picked China Telecom to be the one entering the Philippines, Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said Sunday, citing information from a cabinet meeting last week. China Telecom will have to look for a local partner with an existing franchise and a significant presence in the Philippines, Andanar said.

Shares of PLDT and Globe fell as Duterte, who has sought warmer ties with China amid a South China Sea territorial dispute, pushes through his pledges to open the phone market. For China Telecom, entering the Philippines would help the company expand into one of the fastest-growing economies in Asia.

Philippine Telegraph & Telephone Corp. said last month that it’s in partnership talks with China Telecom, China Mobile Ltd. and other Chinese companies. China Telecom confirmed in an emailed statement that it’s conducting a preliminary study on investing in the Philippines but that no concrete plan had been determined.

PLDT fell as much as 5.2 percent on Monday, while Globe Telecom dropped as much as 4.3 percent.

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