Huawei, the largest communication equipment manufacturer in China, is augmenting its presence in the Korean market by supplying low-priced optical transmission equipment to KT, Korea's top telecommunication service player.

According to industry sources, Huawei recently won a bid offered by KT for a project entailing the installation of a dozen units of 10Gbps time division multiplexing (TDM)-based optical transmission equipment in Seoul, worth around US$854,000. Huawei is reported to have won the deal due to its previous experience supplying a small quantity of optical transmission devices to Powercom in 1999 via its local partner.

Via 3Com Korea, Huawei is presently supplying data network equipment which it is producing at its joint venture with 3Com, and is marketing VoIP equipment in league with Orun Technology.

Korean observers believe that Huawei will have a substantial impact on the structure of the domestic communication equipment market which has been dominated by North American and European firms as it is beefing up technology capabilities with concerted R&D efforts, with small and mid-sized domestic communication equipment firms, in particular, likely to be hit hard by Huawei if it jumps into the subscriber network equipment market, taking advantage of its price competitiveness.

"We have been toiling to receive orders from KT over the past two years, and we are optimistic about expanding our market share," said an officer at the branch office of Huawei. "We will, however, vie with competitors with technology-based equipment, not price-oriented products."

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