China has reportedly decided to develop its own underwater fiber-optic cable alternative after losing the bid to build the “SeaMeWe-6” data-link connecting Europe, the Middle East, and Asia.
The cable route would pass through several countries, including France, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Singapore, before diverging to China’s Hainan province and Hong Kong, with an anticipated completion date of 2025.
Financed by Chinese telecom companies China Mobile, China Telecom, and China Unicom, and implemented by Huawei Marine Networks (HMN Tech) – a firm previously lauded by the Chinese government for its “civil-military integration” model – the network would not only grant China a high-speed connection to the world but also facilitate extensive data collection, potentially shielding it from Western surveillance efforts.
Submarine cables represent another domain in which China seeks to shape the future. As over 95 percent of international data traverses the submarine network, these cables are a valuable source of information for nation-states, carrying a wide range of data from emails to financial transactions.
In April, 2023, the Taiwanese government is preparing to construct an Internet cable terminal in Tainan and install two more undersea cables to increase telecommunications resiliency, according to a source familiar with the matter who spoke on the condition of anonymity.