Company behind canal has spotty past
ADVANCE FOR USE SUNDAY, SEPT. 1, 2013 AND THEREAFTER - FILE - In this June 25, 2013 file photo, Wang Jing, chairman of Hong-Kong HKND Group, attends a press conference at a hotel in Beijing, China. When President Daniel Ortega granted Jing, a Chinese telecommunications executive, exclusive rights to develop a $40 billion canal through Nicaragua and operate it for 100 years, his administration touted the CEOs record of success heading a wireless communications firm with projects in 20 countries. But an examination of those claims paints a different picture. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan, File)
Photo by AP
MANAGUA — When President Daniel Ortega granted a Chinese telecommunications executive exclusive rights to develop a $40 billion canal through Nicaragua and operate it for 100 years, his administration touted the CEO's record of success heading a wireless communications firm with projects in 20 countries.
Wang Jing's company, Xinwei, boasted that it had orchestrated an array of deals worth more than $5 billion during the last three years, in places as far-flung as Zimbabwe and Ukraine. Its own literature describes the company as possessing “huge strength and sublime eminence in the global communications industry.”
But an examination of those claims by The Associated Press around the world paints a different picture. While at least some of Xinwei's domestic enterprises appear to be successful, outside of China, promises to build revolutionary new telecom networks have yet to materialize. And deals with local partners have been marred by false starts and poor performance.
In 12 of the 20 countries where Wang's Xinwei Telecom Enterprise Group and associated companies say they've done business, the AP found no evidence of a successful, large-scale project.
In Cambodia, a promised high-tech wireless network has yet to operate after unexplained delays. In Zimbabwe, officials say Xinwei's partner had its license pulled by regulators and assets seized by a local bank.
And in Nicaragua, where Wang has formed a new company to build a waterway that could be three times the length of the Panama Canal, there is no sign of a promised $700 million national wireless network more than a year after he announced his intent to build it.
In the other eight countries where Xinwei operates, either analysts and major telecom firms said they had not heard of the company, or Xinwei did not provide enough details about its partners or projects to allow its record to be examined.
That record is raising doubts among local businessmen, political opposition leaders and outside experts about the ability of Wang's new company to build the canal.
“This is just orders of magnitude beyond anything that they're capable of,” said Derek Scissors, a senior research fellow who monitors Chinese overseas investment for the Heritage Foundation. “At this point it's just a stunt.”
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments â either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.