Dec 142012

ZHUHAI, CHINA: A Chinese company has emerged as the second biggest supplier of SIM cards for mobile phones in India this year. The government-controlled Eastcompeace Technology is supplying the phone chips to Reliance Communications, Tata Teleservices, Airtel and Vodafone, besides providing SBI with smart cards.

Eastcompeace has implemented high level of security standards to ensure safety of phone and banking data, Daniel Hu, VP of the state-owned Potevio, which owns Eastcompeace, told journalists on Friday. In the area of smart cards, the firm has obtained licences from both Mastercard and Visa, he said.

The company also designed the chip that went into the latest and controversial version of Chinese passport that contains China’s map showing India’s Arunachal Pradesh and Aksai Chin. But, Hu said his company’s chips do not contain the maps, which were put at the government’s printing facilities. “Data security is an important concern for our customers. But we cannot access the data while producing the chips as they are encrypted,” Kevin Chen, company’s deputy GM and in charge for Indian operations, said.

Potevio owns a 25% stake in Eastcompeace, while the rest is held by different entities including state-owned Chinese banks and companies, the executives said. “The government is not involved in the management or business of the company,” Hu said.

Eastcompeace’s share in the Indian market is rising steadily and currently it has 13% share of the Indian SIM card market. It has supplied 90 million SIM card chips to India. The company’s plant in India produced 60% of them, while its unit in Zhuhai in South China rolled out the rest, Chen said. The company is the biggest player in Pakistan. Its India operation is the largest, with revenue worth $18 million followed by Pakistan ($9m), Russia ($6m) and South Africa ($4m).

International operations, which include Bangladesh and Singapore, account for 55% of its total revenue.

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