China’s Telecommunications Footprint in Africa

China has continued to play a major role in financing and supplying telecom and ICT equipment to Africa.CGTN’s Daniel Arap Moi submits that Chinese companies like Huawei have helped to bring down charges and contributed to the success of mobile phones on the continent.

Chinese telecom companies have in the past decade become key players in Africa’s digital economy. Some of the telecom firms are now integrated into Africa’s public and private sectors. The companies are providing digital infrastructure for projects like data centers, e-governance, telecom infrastructure, and undersea internet cables.

Huawei’s hardware equipment reportedly constitutes 70 percent of the 4G infrastructure in Africa. The company is also the first to offer 5G services in Africa. The peace submarine cable in which Huawei is a major player is expected to offer the shortest submarine fiber cable route from China to Africa with its landing zones in Djibouti and Kenya.

Besides Huawei, Transsion Holdings group reportedly controls 40 percent of the smartphone market in Africa. In 2020, its smartphone market share in the continent exceeded 40 percent and ranked number one by the end of the second quarter. Its brands include Tecno, Itel, and Infinix.

China’s tech companies have also developed apps like Boomplay and Vskit that dominate Africa’s social media landscape. In the mobile money segment, apps like Palmpay and OPay are backed by Chinese investors to make inroads into the fintech sector.

South Africa’s Vodacom Group in partnership with Alibaba launched Vodapay, a super-app that integrates mobile payments with e-commerce, business, and lifestyle services.
Chinese tech companies are also supplying various authorities with diverse digital infrastructure and services.
Tech companies like Huawei and ZTE have secured government contracts to construct smart cities, data centers, and Artificial Intelligence and technology systems.