China’s Hainan Province Announces Plan for Undersea Fiber Optic Cable Linking to Southeast Asian Countries

On October 16, Chen Xingwu, the Deputy Director of Communications Administration of China’s Hainan province announced that provincial authorities were planning to build a submarine cable from Hainan to Southeast Asian countries, similar to the fiber optic cable connecting the province to Hong Kong that is currently under construction by China Mobile Corporation with components supplied by Huawei Marine. The Hainan-Hong Kong cable is expected to be completed in 2021.

During a press conference, Chen indicated that Hainan province intends to establish a regional bureau for the purpose of expanding international communications with Belt and Road (BRI) countries, and it is presumed that the newly announced submarine cable to Southeast Asia will be within the auspices of this office.

The plan for both submarine cables reportedly builds on a master plan issued in June 2020 for the Hainan Free Trade port, which aims to make the Chinese province a global trade hub.