Global Crossing forms $US1.2b venture in Hong Kong

Global Crossing and Hong Kong-based conglomerate Hutchison Whampoa have agreed to form a $US1.2 billion joint venture to pursue fixed-line telecommunications and internet opportunities in Hong Kong and China.

The venture is expected to be operational by January 2000 and will link Hutchison's existing services in Hong Kong to Global Crossing's worldwide network, Global Crossing said.

The equally-owned joint venture, to be known as Hutchison Global Crossing (HGC), will pursue fixed-line telecom business in Hong Kong and in Mainland China when regulations permit, Hutchison Whampoa said.

The venture will focus initially on the expansion of Hutchison's existing network, the largest fully fiber-optic network in Hong Kong, to become the cornerstone of HGC's planned venture - China Crossing. The tie-up will enhance Hutchison's penetration of the Hong Kong corporate market by adding low-cost global connectivity and a variety of Web hosting services, Global Crossing said in the statement.

Using this network infrastructure as a platform, HGC will offer broadband telecom services to high-volume customers in Hong Kong, including multinational corporations, government bodies, ISPs and other telecom operators, Global Crossing said.

The joint venture will initially build on certain of Hutchison's existing Internet and multimedia businesses, including the HutchCity ISP portal. HGC will also implement the contract recently awarded to Hutchison by the Hong Kong government to build and operate a public electronic services delivery system in Hong Kong.

HGC will establish a global data centre in Hong Kong which will connect to existing and planned centres in North America, Europe and Asia-Pacific. The data centre will provide Web hosting, application services and other Internet facilities management services in Hong Kong, according to Global Crossing.