Like what you've read?

On Line Opinion is the only Australian site where you get all sides of the story. We don't
charge, but we need your support. Here�s how you can help.

  • Advertise

    We have a monthly audience of 70,000 and advertising packages from $200 a month.

  • Volunteer

    We always need commissioning editors and sub-editors.

  • Contribute

    Got something to say? Submit an essay.


 The National Forum   Donate   Your Account   On Line Opinion   Forum   Blogs   Polling   About   
On Line Opinion logo ON LINE OPINION - Australia's e-journal of social and political debate

Subscribe!
Subscribe





On Line Opinion is a not-for-profit publication and relies on the generosity of its sponsors, editors and contributors. If you would like to help, contact us.
___________

Syndicate
RSS/XML


RSS 2.0

Huawei could pose a challenge for Australia in Papua New Guinea

By Jeffrey Wall - posted Tuesday, 25 August 2020


The presence of Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei has not been challenged in Papua New Guinea as it has been in Australia, the United States, the United Kingdom and other countries.

Despite a recent embarrassing setback, reported on by the Australian Financial Review, Huawei has positioned itself well to benefit from the likely full or partial privatisation by the PNG government of a number of underperforming state-owned enterprises.

With a loan from Exim Bank of China, PNG commissioned Huawei to build a national data centre in Port Moresby at a total cost of around A$75 million.

Advertisement

PNG Communications Minister Timothy Masiu told the AFR that his government should not have to repay the loan because the data centre is a failed investment, barely works and may have to be shut down.

That will not have gone down well in Huawei's headquarters, or in the very large and influential Chinese embassy in Port Moresby.

It's a setback for Huawei, but it remains to been seen whether it will have an impact in PNG beyond one unhappy minister.

The company is well entrenched in the communications sector of Australia's closest neighbour. It works closely with the state-owned Telikom PNG, an underperforming operation that will probably be first in line for full or partial sale if the cash-strapped government proceeds down that path. Huawei also provides mobile phones and other equipment to operators in the rapidly growing PNG marketplace.

Two years ago, Huawei had another setback in PNG when the Australian government stepped in to block a plan, initiated by Solomon Islands, for the company to build a submarine cable connecting the Solomons, PNG and Australia.

Australia funded the cable's construction at a cost of around $150 million-a wise investment given the access such a project might provide.

Advertisement

But Huawei was not prevented from building the domestic cable network delivering internet and other telecommunications services to provincial centres around PNG.

That involved another Chinese loan that will have to be repaid. PNG Telikom is believed to have incurred massive debts to China and its capacity to repay them in a very difficult economic environment is just about zero.

In fact, the debt-trap diplomacy strategy pursued by China in developing countries is going to hit PNG hard at a time when its ability to repay Exim Bank of China and other lenders is severely restricted.

  1. Pages:
  2. Page 1
  3. 2
  4. All


Discuss in our Forums

See what other readers are saying about this article!

Click here to read & post comments.

5 posts so far.

Share this:
reddit this reddit thisbookmark with del.icio.us Del.icio.usdigg thisseed newsvineSeed NewsvineStumbleUpon StumbleUponsubmit to propellerkwoff it

About the Author

Jeffrey Wall OBE is a Brisbane Political Consultant and has served as Advisor to the PNG Foreign Minister, Sir Rabbie Namaliu – Prime Minister 1988-1992 and Speaker 1994-1997.

Other articles by this Author

All articles by Jeffrey Wall

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

Article Tools
Comment 5 comments
Print Printable version
Subscribe Subscribe
Email Email a friend
Advertisement

About Us Search Discuss Feedback Legals Privacy