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18.02.00 15:09
AR takes no side on battle for HKT

            By Wendy Shair and Irene Ip

            STORY: THE Hong Kong government yesterday made it clear it was
            taking a neutral stand in the intensifying bidding war between local
            Internet company Pacific Century CyberWorks (PCCW) and Singapore
            Telecom for control of Cable & Wireless HKT.

            ``It is entirely speculative and factually incorrect to say that the HKSAR
            government has sought influence the outcome of the proposed
            measures for any political reasons,''said Government Information
            coordinator Stephen Lam Sui-lung.

            Rumours have circulated that planned merger between SingTel and
            HKT is likely to be cancelled, mainly because of political concerns from
            the Hong Kong and Beijing over a foreign government acquiring a stake
            in HKT.

            ``It is speculative and unconvincing to suggest that the Central
            Government has (been) involved in anyway concerning the merger
            proposals,''Mr Lam said.

            He said regulations of the telecommunications industry in Hong Kong

            falls within the autonomy of the SAR government. The lack of official
            opposition to a SingTel's bid means that Cyberworks Asia's third
            largest Internet investment company, will have to convince HKT's parent,
            Cable & Wireless Plc of the UK of the financial merit of its bid.

            Mr Lam admitted the Singapore government approached the SAR
            authorities for a briefing on the proposed merger.

            ``We have kept open lines of communications with the Singaporean

            Criticisms have been raised that the important sector was under the
            control of Li Ka-shing and his family. SingTel, on the other hand, is
            headed by Lee Hsien Yang, the second son of Singapore's Senior
            Minister Lee Kuan Yew.

            Meanwhile, business tycoon Li Ka-shing yesterday indicated he has no
            interest in monopolising the territory's telecom market.

            Only six per cent of Hutchison Whampoa's business is located in Hong
            Kong while the rest is overseas, he said.

            ``I harbour no ambition as far as Hong Kong is concerned, only love,'' he

            While he stressed Hong Kong's importance to him, he said there were
            areas in which his business had to focus on overseas markets.

            He said that his business has ten times more container terminal berth
            places overseas than Hong Kong, and Hutchison's Orange has about
            5.5 million subscribers in one country alone at the end of last year,
            compared with a total of 4 million in the Hong Kong market, he said.

            He urged Hong Kong people to look at things in a larger perspective. Mr
            Li also denied speculations that PCCW and Hutchison-Whampoa will
            merge for the bid.

            ``The license of one of the parties would be removed if we do that. We
            had already carefully considered this ,'' he said.

            But he declined to say if he would help finance his son, Richard Li's bid
            for HKT.


Re: PCCW-NEWS Hoffentlich nicht wieder so eine unq. Meldung wie g.


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