France Telecom announced the signing of a memorandum of understanding to form a long-term strategic partnership with China Telecom. The companies will team up on R&D, procurement, network and business operations, and personnel exchange and training.
The two companies will also each be investing 20 million euros (US$24 million) to set up a research center in Beijing. France Telecom has stated that the center would be its first joint venture abroad, even though the operator currently has 14 research centers throughout the world, including one in Beijing staffed with 20 people.
In addition to the Beijing facility, France Telecom is also planning to build a center in Guangdong. The two centers will employ approximately 500 Chinese and French researchers. 300 to 400 will staff the Guangdong center, which will focus on application development and the testing of new products. The remainder will work at the Beijing site, which will be dedicated to fundamental research, according to France Telecom.
The French carrier hopes that the joint venture will improve their familiarity with the Chinese market, as well as help build closer ties to their major suppliers such as Alcatel, Motorola, and Siemens.