Although general economic reforms were initiated in China in 1978, for more than a decade China’s telecommunications industry was largely untouched and remained an administrative monopoly. As a result of ongoing overall reforms, as well as interactions between internal and external forces, China started to reform its telecommunications regime in the early 1990s. In a relatively short period, fundamental changes have taken place in a number of key areas, including regulation, market access, competition, foreign investment and the like. In 2000, the Chinese government issued the Telecommunications Regulations, to meet WTO standards, set out fundamental competition rules and clear away obstacles barring foreign and private investment from the telecommunications sector. In the past few years, a number of rules covering various regulatory issues have also been made, including the long awaited Regulations on the Administration of Foreign Invested Telecommunications Enterprises. The Chinese government, meanwhile, continues the process of drafting a comprehensive Telecommunications Law, with passage expected in 2003.
In studying China’s telecommunications reforms, this book applies a Public Choice Plus theory, which analyzes interactions between various discrete factors or forces in policy-making and, in particular, the roles of interests, ideology, technology, ideas, institutions and the internationalization of markets.