Thursday, 5 July 2007

ZTE undaunted by attacks on broadband deal

By Pia Lee-Brago
Original article at the Philippine Star

The Chinese telecommunication firm ZTE Corp. is undaunted by the attacks against the company, even as company officials denied any involvement in alleged “under-the-table” deals and bribery of Philippine government officials to get the contract for the $330-million national broadband project.

Zhang Shumin, director of ZTE sales management department, said that one of their competitors in the project – Amsterdam Holdings, Inc. –could be behind the accusations against ZTE after their proposal was rejected by the government.

“There’s absolutely no truth to those accusations. We think it is important to bear these facts in mind when considering accusations being made by another proponent whose proposal was not accepted. Again, the accusations of bribery and corruption against ZTE are totally untrue, baseless and unfair,” Zhang said.

He warned detractors that ZTE may take legal action.

“ZTE reserves the right to take the appropriate legal action against the persons responsible for these libelous allegations,” he said.

As a listed company in the Hong Kong and Shenzhen stock exchanges, Zhang said ZTE’s business operations are closely scrutinized and regulated and the company is required to operate under a strict corporate governance system.

“We strictly comply not only with Chinese laws, but also the local laws and regulations in all the other countries we operate in around the world. ZTE entered into the NBN Project in compliance with relevant Philippine laws and regulations,” he added.

Zhang claimed that Amsterdam Holdings, Inc. which has total assets of around P301,650 based on its financial statements filed at the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), does not have the necessary telecoms experience and track record.

He said that the Philippine government had considered Amsterdam’s financial standing when it chose not to accept the $240-million proposal for a nationwide telecoms network which will require the proponent to have considerable financial strength and extensive technical and implementation capability.

“ZTE is undaunted by the media attacks being waged against it. We have been involved in the Philippine telecommunications industry for several years now and our commitment to the Philippine market is evidenced further by our involvement in the NBN Project,” he said.

He said “ZTE is not a party to any under-the-table-deals” noting that the company entered into the contract for the NBN Project in compliance with Philippines laws and regulations and there were submissions to various Philippine government agencies.

The ZTE is also waiting for the result of the National Bureau of Investigation’s probe on the missing original copy of the contract between the ZTE and the Philippine government shortly after the contract was signed in China.

The document was allegedly stolen from the hotel room of a Filipino trade representative in China.

ZTE officials expressed optimism that the broadband project with the Philippine government would push through despite the controversies surrounding the project.

The company’s officials, who asked not to be identified, said the top management in China was “surprised” over the negative reports against ZTE, the second biggest telecommunications firm in China.

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