All the action seems to be overseas these days. Shanghai Telecom (STC), AT&T and Shanghai Information Investment Inc. (SII), have inked a deal to bring broadband IP value-added services to commercial customers in Pudong New Area, Shanghai.

China is experiencing fast growth in the telecom sector, with China NetTV Holdings and China Broadband establishing firm market shares.

This group, named the Shanghai Symphony Telecommunications Co. is the first Chinese joint venture and the first involving a foreign carrier. The alliance is fully supported by the State Council, Ministry of Information Industry, Shanghai municipal government and China Telecom Group. The group expects to launch service by mid-2Q 2001.

``The formation of this joint venture symbolizes the initiation of the open door policy in China's telecom industry. Moreover, cooperation with AT&T, a world famous telecom enterprise, is an important move by Shanghai Telecom that will enable the company to compete in the global telecom market within three years," said Cheng Xiyuan, STC President in a statement.

STC will own 60 percent of the venture's holdings, while AT&T will own 25 percent and SII 15 percent (percent is one word). The three partners will constitute the Board of Directors and each will also contribute key executives to manage the new company.

Shanghai Symphony Telecom will lease dark fiber from STC, implement high-reliability fiber-optic rings with high-speed routers and switches and provide access fiber directly to customer buildings.

The Shanghai Municipal Government is actively developing the Pudong area into the premier business and financial center of China, with specialized development zones to support finance and trade, high technology and export businesses. Over the past six years, foreign direct investment in Pudong has continued to grow. Government records showed that at the end of 1999 alone, there were a total of 5,942 projects by foreign companies that represents US$29.44 billion in investments.