President, China Mobile Communications Corporation
Education: Beijing University of Posts and Communications.
Career: Beijing Telecommunication Administration, 1994–1998; China Telecommunications Corporation, 1998–1999, director general; State Post and Telecommunications Bureau of People's Republic of China, 1999–2000, director; China Telecommunications Corporation, 2000, president; China Mobile Communications Corporation, 2000–.
Awards: Chairman's Award, 3GSM World Congress, 2004.
Address: 53A Xibianmen Avenue, Xuanwu District, Beijing, 100053, China; http://www.chinamobile.com.
■ With 37 years of management experience in the telecommunications industry, Zhang Ligui led China Mobile Communications Corporation into the 21st century with innovations and expanding technologies. He made deals with several companies to help expand China Mobile's services and to help build an all-inclusive mobile network throughout China. By 2004 China Mobile had the largest network in the world and the largest number of customers.
After graduating from Beijing University of Posts and Communications, Zhang entered the communications world. In 1994 he became the chief of the Beijing Telecommunication Administration. He contracted with the Motorola Cellular Infrastructure Group to have Motorola supply base-station equipment to create the largest global system for mobile communications (GSM) digital cellular organization in China. Zhang left this position to take over as director general of China Telecommunications Corporation (China Telecom). In 1998 Zhang announced that the company would be using Alcatel, a French telecommunications equipment maker, to supply synchronous digital hierarchy (SDH) and dense wavelength division multiplexing (DWDM) for some of its upcoming projects. Zhang wanted to contribute to the deployment of the nationwide long distance, high capacity, and high-speed transmission network in China. Also in 1998 Zhang signed an agreement with Sir Iain Vallance, the chairman of British Telecom, that would allow the two companies to trade technologies and explore business prospects.
In 1999 Zhang took over the position of director of the State Post and Telecommunications Bureau of the People's Republic of China. In this role he offered a short-term plan for the development of telecommunications in China. Zhang's plan was simple: speed up network assembly and fortify the capacity of the network; try to grow business by taking advantage of the prospective market and enlarging the advantage of enterprises; develop the management of these enterprises by increasing money coming in and lowering costs; and strengthen the perception and augment the quality of telecommunications service. The result was an increase in electronic commerce in China.
In 2000 China restructured its telecommunications industry so that it was ready to enter the World Trade Organization. China Mobile Communications became China Telecommunications Corporation, and Zhang became president of the megacompany. Later in 2000 the government broke up the telecommunications monopoly, splitting China Telecommunications Corporation into two groups—the China Telecommunications Group (China Telecom), for fixed-line services, and China Mobile Communications Group (China Mobile), for wireless services. Zhang became president and party chief of China Mobile. China Mobile offered not only cell phones but also services such as Internet telephony (IP) and multimedia as well as Internet services. China Mobile operated China's GSM network and provided many value-added services, including fax and data, voice mail, caller identification, call transfer, call waiting, call barring, prepaid telephone cards, multiple network availability, information gathering, mobile banking, and mobile Internet. At the beginning of 2000 China Mobile had 38 million mobile telephone users, who made up 90 percent of China's market.
The introduction of the Exoteric Mobile Architecture Plan was announced in 2001, and China Mobile joined the plan in 2002. Zhang was quoted in Alestron as saying that the "Exoteric Mobile Architecture Plan is a very important international industrial cooperation plan. It can provide consumers with rich and colorful operations rapidly. As the largest mobile client operator in the world now, China Mobile will support and join the plan actively" (January 2, 2002).
In 2003 China Mobile announced it was reshuffling managers in the upper echelons of the company. Zhang was asked to serve as nonexecutive director of China Mobile (Hong Kong) Limited, starting in March 2003. In 2003 Zhang was also involved in the Science and Technology Circles of the 10th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Committee Conference. In 2003 China Mobile made a deal with Bandai Networks Company, the largest supplier of online media for China, whereby Bandai would provide online content for mobile phones in China.
In February 2004 Zhang went to Cannes, France, for the 3GSM Conference, the industry's annual summit. According to the Financial Times , "The Chinese ascendancy was confirmed as one industry executive after another visited the table of Zhang Ligui, president of China Mobile … to pay court during the GSM association's awards dinner" (February 28, 2004). Zhang, attending the 3GSM congress for the first time, won the Chairman's Award for his involvement in the growth of China's economy and the international success of GSM. Zhang served as director general of telecommunications of the Ministry of Posts and Communications and as director general of the Gansu Posts and Telecommunications Administration, of the Beijing Telecommunications Bureau, and of Posts and Telecommunications.
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Williams, Martyn, "Alcatel Wins Chinese Optical Backbone Contracts," Newsbytes , July 10, 1998.
—Catherine Victoria Donaldson