Qwest launches first Asian services

U.S.-based telecommunication company Qwest Communications International Inc. Tuesday began offering telecommunication and Internet services in Hong Kong, Singapore and Japan, the company announced in a statement.

The services that Qwest is offering -- called AsiaLink -- include ATM (Asynchronous Transfer Mode), international private line and dedicated Internet access services, the statement said. The company plans to begin offering VPN (Virtual Private Network) services in Asia during the first half of next year, it said.

While the AsiaLink services are currently available in Japan, Hong Kong and Singapore, Qwest plans to expand them to China, Taiwan and South Korea during 2002, the statement said. Pricing for the services was not immediately available.

The launch of Qwest's first Asian services comes less than one year after the company opened its Hong Kong-based Asian headquarters, in December 2001. At that time, Qwest's president of international operations, Ross Bernard Lau, said the company would focus on developing service offerings for the North Asia market, encompassing Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, China and Hong Kong. [See "Qwest sets Its sights on Asia," Dec. 7. 2000.]Qwest has been hard-hit by the recent economic downturn. In September, the company announced it would lay off 4,000 employees in the U.S. and cut its 2001 earnings estimate. The company also announced it would slash its 2002 capital expenditure budget by US$2 billion, to $5.5 billion.

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