There has been news spreading in the industry that the Chinese telecom equipment supplier Huawei starts its first fiber optic cable manufacturing company in Egypt. It is confirmed that the news came out of Egypt after the ICT exhibition at Cairo that was held in December 2016 and after a meeting with the Chinese firms with the Egyptian ministry of telecommunications. Chinese cable maker YOFC expressed their interests to start manufacturing of fiber optic cables in Egypt n a meeting where Huawei officials were also present. Somehow the reporter of the news interpreted this as Huawei’s intention.
During the Cairo exhibition, the Minister of Communications and Information Technology Yasser ElKady had received a joint delegation of officials from the Chinese Company Yangtze Optical Fibre and Cable (YOFC) and Huawei. YOFC was represented by the Deputy General Manager Rebecca Zhou, and Huawei Egypt was represented by Huawei CEO Terry Liu, to discuss the final steps needed for establishing a high-tech factory for the company in Egypt, aiming to serve the increasing domestic demands and export services in the region. Depending on the market, Huawei usually promotes and supports other Chinese suppliers for the projects they execute. YOFC had already started the operation of its Fiber and cable manufacturing divisions in South Africa and had plans to expand its operations to the northern regions of the continent.
El Sewedy was producing fiber optic cables in Egypt. The company had decided to stop its operations and had plans to shift its machinery to Qatar. The latest movement is unknown. El Sewedy, the power cable manufacturer who started their first fiber optic cable manufacturing plant in Egypt had expanded to surrounding countries in a quick phase. The political troubles happened in Egypt and Arab nations had literally destroyed the group’s dreams to become a strong supplier in the MEA region. The discussion with the ministerial team to invest in the ICT sector is a strategy by the Chinese firms to spread their business in the Northern African region. By establishing factories in technology parks, and making them centers for manufacturing the Egyptian and regional ICT market requirements for spearheading technology innovation and entrepreneurship and producing local knowledge will, in turn, help Egypt to accelerate its economic and social revival.
The minister underlined the support of the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT) for the global companies that demonstrate a serious interest in investing in Egypt, showcasing the government’s efforts to provide a suitable environment for investment, and referring to the international trade agreements signed by Egypt to facilitate the export process. On the other hand, the ICT Minister stated that developing the telecommunications infrastructure and responding to the ongoing domestic demand on optical fibers – especially in the light of the development of new cities and regions nationwide— further supports one of the main pillars of the ICT sector strategy, which aims to enhance the smart technological structure.
YOFC being a Chinese optical fiber and cable manufacturing giant, is also a partner of Huawei Global for the latter’s global projects. YOFC owns the highest market share in the world in the field of fiber-optic cable, and is one of the largest investment entities in China, leading numerous international investments. YOFC selected Egypt as a vital destination for creating a new plant, considering the maturity of the Egyptian ICT sector and the state’s interest in development and improvement. Zhou appreciated the high level of Egyptian calibers dealing with modern technologies.
During the recent period, the Information Technology Industry Development Agency (ITIDA) held a series of intensive meetings with YOFC to discuss the technical requirements of the plant and how to provide consultation. The meetings resulted in the selection of the appropriate location of the plant in one of the new technology parks. This is in addition to the provision of technological calibers, especially that ITIDA provides a technical training program to develop capacities in the field of production and maintenance of optical fibers.
The meeting was attended by ITIDA CEO Asmaa Hosni, ITIDA Vice President for IT Market Development and Silicon Waha CEO Ahmed El-Sobky, the ICT Minister Advisor for Training, Technological Innovation and Electronics Industry and ITIDA Acting CEO Hossam Osman, and representatives of Huawei Egypt. Representation of Huawei officials made the confusion to the news reporter and subsequently, the wrong news was transmitted to the industry that Huawei starts fiber cable manufacturing company in Egypt! Huawei as a big company does not necessarily need to focus on cable manufacturing since there a lot of manufacturers worldwide especially from within China. Buying the required type of cables from existing cable manufacturers is the best option for leading companies such as Huawei that handle turn-key projects. Such big companies may make collaboration with cable manufacturers depending on the project locations, tender terms and conditions, logistical issues etc.
YOFC being an existing optical fiber and cable manufacturer and having a presence in many countries would have more benefit in starting their division in Egypt.