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7 Minutes Read
China Telecom do Brasil (CTB), the Brazilian subsidiary of China Telecom Americas, has been turning heads and making headlines in Brazil. Earlier this year, CTB launched a new cloud offering that will connect Brazil and parts of Latin America to China and beyond. Now, CTB’s new General Manager is gaining positive attention.
Denis Monteleone recently gave an exclusive interview to Lucas Amorim, Editorial Director at Exame, a São Paulo-based magazine specializing in economics and business, highlighting the big plans the company has to grow its offerings in Brazil and Latin America. Keep reading for highlights and the full interview in English.
In the Exame article entitled, “In a fresh start in Brazil, China Telecom targets Northern and Northeastern Brazil and Brazil-Asia connection,” Monteleone addresses a variety of topics, including how the company with a nine-year history in Brazil has multiplied its presence in the nation in 2023 and CTB’s global priorities.
When asked why an emphasis is being placed on Brazil now, Monteleone said the timing is right and the nation has reached a milestone in its relationship with China.
In the Exame article, Monteleone states: “The business relationship is increasing due to the empathy that exists between the Brazil and China. This has generated interest in markets such as agriculture, electricity, logistics and transport. China is expanding to Latin America, with factories in Argentina, Mexico and Brazil. There is a strategy by the Chinese government to explore this international market by making heavy investments.”
Monteleone goes on to discuss the company’s growth trajectory, with plans to more than double its Brazil employee base by the end of 2024 and expand its network to the north and northeast of Brazil by 2025.
Questions by Exame. reporter Lucas Amorim, answers by Denis Monteleone.
Q: What are China Telecom’s global priorities?
A: The company is one of the world’s largest integrated telecommunications service providers. And it has a long-term commitment to developing global operations. China Telecom is present in more than 70 countries and has submarine fiber optics connecting Asia, Europe, Africa the US and Brazil. It has more than 200 PoPs (points of presence) around the world and is a member of 41 submarine cables. In Brazil, the company was established in 2012 and began operating in 2014. Today we have 13 PoPs, in 5 states with presence in (São Paulo, Rio, Paraná, Santa Catarina and Rio Grande do Sul). We have 140clients for whom we offer connectivity solutions.
Q: Does your arrival a few weeks ago represent a new step for a company that has been here for nine years?
A: From 2014 to 2023 the company sold a single product, internet access. But we have a portfolio of services, including cloud, connectivity, IOT, SD-WAN, products that are ready to serve Brazil. The aim is to serve corporate clients with these solutions. We are going to replicate in Brazil a model that we have adopted in the United States and Europe. We’re going to grow in Brazil and at the same time expand into Mexico, Chile, Argentina and Colombia.
Q: Is the focus on serving Chinese companies?
A: That’s the first group of clients. Today we have around 300 Chinese companies in Brazil. They have an IT challenge. China Telecom provides information technology support, from data centers to the local network. The language barrier is a factor. We have specialists in Brazil who speak Mandarin and we can understand the client’s needs. The second group of clients are the 70 Brazilian companies that are already established in China and others that want to do business in Asia. We want to help them consolidate their businesses.
Q: Why these renewed plans for Brazil at this time?
A: It’s a new milestone. It’s a unique moment that Brazil is experiencing with the new government. The business relationship is growing because of the empathy that exists between the two countries (Brazil and China). This has generated interest in markets such as agribusiness, electricity, logistics and transportation. Chinese businesses is investing, not only in the United States and Europe, but also in Latin America, with factories in Argentina, Mexico and Brazil. It is the Chinese government’s strategy to exploit this international market by making heavy investments. Brazil is the country that has received the most investment from China in the last 5 years.
Q: Will growth be organic, or is there interest in mergers and acquisitions?
A: There is interest in mergers and acquisitions. We’re open to it.
Q: You said that the Chinese are fast when it comes to doing business. But CTB has been doing business in Brazil for nine years. Has the time to run finally begun?
A: It has. We’re getting very strong support from China Telecom Americas on global projects, with executives coming here every week. We have a good hiring target for this year and we’re going to grow more next year. Today we have 15 people, by the end of the year we’ll have 25 people and next year, 50.
Q: What investment is planned for the short term?
A: The company has invested in the last few years in 13 PoPs. and we’re continuing to invest. Our cloud node in Sao Paulo is already installed. Next year and year 2025 we want to expand the network to the north and northeast of Brazil, to have 7 additional PoPs.
Q: Do we need to break down any resistance to Chinese investment in technology in Brazil?
A: Investment is linked to opportunity. It can come in the form of expanding the network, or acquiring a new company, or several companies. Brazil and China are two different cultures. But there is a convergence of momentum, of seeking a joint path. We focus on Brazilian companies looking to establish themselves and develop business with Asia, and I would like companies to see us as a facilitator, a technology provider.
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