Chinese firm signs satellite deal

Updated: 2013-05-29 02:08

By Wang Qian and Cheng Guangjin (China Daily)

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Xi says Beijing to continue support of development with Sri Lanka

China will expand its presence in Sri Lanka after signing a contract in Beijing on Tuesday to deliver Sri Lanka's first communications satellite.

China Great Wall Industry Corp - the nation's only authorized provider of commercial satellite launch services to the global market - and SupremeSAT Ltd, a Sri Lankan satellite operator, will provide the satellite in the near future.

President Xi Jinping and visiting Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa witnessed the signing of the contract after meeting on Tuesday. The two countries pledged to expand bilateral trade, investment and cooperation in agriculture, space technology and infrastructure.

Xi said China will continue to support and seek common development with Sri Lanka for the benefit of both countries' people.

Rajapaksa, making his sixth visit to China since taking office in 2005, said Sri Lanka regards China as an important partner and hopes to learn from China's experience and enhance the two countries' friendly cooperation.

Bilateral trade between China and the South Asian country reached $2.68 billion in 2012, a year-on-year increase of 19.6 percent. The Chinese company will deliver a communications satellite based on the DFH-4 satellite platform, providing telecommunications and broadcasting services to Sri Lanka and its neighboring countries and regions.

Delivery date unknown

Several countries intend to buy the services from Sri Lanka, according to an unnamed source familiar with the deal.

The Chinese company did not reveal the delivery date for the satellite or the total investment.

China Great Wall Industry Corp also trains satellite control personnel for its clients after exporting satellites.

In late November, the company launched a communications satellite with broadcasting service open to SupremeSAT Ltd.

A spokesman for the Chinese company said that it has launched 43 satellites and 37 launch services for foreign clients as of May, covering 18 countries and regions in Asia, Europe, Africa, the Americas and Oceania.

The spokesman said a telecommunications center in Sri Lanka's Kandy will be completed and become operational within this year. It is expected to provide global Beidou navigation services for China.

Besides the satellite contract, Sri Lanka will become the fifth overseas customer of China's Beidou navigation system, according to the memorandum the two companies signed on Tuesday. The memorandum said the two countries will cooperate in applying the Beidou navigation system in fishing industry, transportation and information collection.

Pang Zhihao, an aerospace expert, said the satellite cooperation between China and other countries showed fast development and great achievement gained in design and manufacture of the nation's satellite technology.

"It is a win-win situation in exporting satellites to overseas clients - China is improving satellite technologies while foreign customers get economic benefits," Pang said.

China hopes to have a 10 percent share of the global satellite market and 15 percent of the world's commercial launch market by 2015, according to China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp, a shareholder of the China Great Wall Industry Corp.

China has been providing launch services to international clients since 1990, when a communications satellite was sent into space on a Long March 3 booster.