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Half of the world’s fibre subscribers in China by 2016

The fibre broadband market will be dominated by China over the next five years, according to a report from analyst house Ovum, part of Informa PLC. China’s dominance will stem from strong growth in subscriber numbers and from domestic vendor’s healthy exports.

The report states that the Chinese market will reach 100 million subscribers by 2016, which will then represent more than 50 per cent of the world’s fibre broadband subscribers. This is down to a large degree to the sheer size of the population.

China’s FTTx household penetration is currently very low at only four per cent, but this still very close to Japan’s year-end 2010 figure at nearly 20 million. By the end of the first quarter of 2011 this had already increased to over 22 million, according to Informa World Broadband Information Service (WBIS) statistics.

Chinese vendors Huawei and ZTE are also set to continue their 2010 dominance of the fibre broadband equipment market through 2011 and into the next few years. This will be in both their local markets and beyond with competitors struggling to unseat them.

Julie Kunstler, Ovum principal analyst and co-author of the report, said that, “China is the biggest consumer of FTTx equipment right now and that is set to continue. A key driver of the enormous forecasted growth is the bandwidth and subscriber targets set by the Chinese government and service providers. In addition, the government is providing support for deployments in the form of credit and partnerships. Meanwhile, the significant greenfield construction projects that are under way in the country make the installation of FTTx networks easier.

“Huawei and ZTE are strong exporters outside of China. In the fourth quarter of 2010, 50 per cent of FTTx equipment revenues in EMEA corresponded to shipments by these two vendors. They have strong expertise in FTTx, given their large home market, and they will continue to be a formidable force around the globe.

“There will continue to be room for other players, but it will be difficult to unseat the top two.”

However, China’s leading vendor Huawei continues to face opposition though around the world. Earlier in the year, its US executive Ken Hu wrote an open letter denying that the company had any links to the Chinese military, while more recently it has faced a ban in Taiwan, as it got caught up in the dispute over the island’s sovereignty between its government and its nominal Chinese rulers.

The Broadband World Forum will take place on 27-29 September 2011.

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