China Mobile, Bharti pursue take-over targets

Two of the world's largest mobile operators, China Mobile and Bharti Airtel, are hunting for global acquisitions, according to a report in the Financial Times.

It claims this marks a shift in momentum - from developed operators to cash-rich carriers from emerging markets.

China Mobile dominates the world's largest mobile market, China, with more than 616 million subscribers, while Bharti leads in India, the world's fastest-growing mobile market, adding 10 million subscribers each month to its current total of 315 million.

"We are continuously scanning the world. Everyone is not a seller. We are looking for desperate sellers," Manoj Kohli, Bharti's chief executive, said to the Financial Times.

China Mobile, the world's largest phone company by market value, last year made its first foreign acquisition by purchasing Pakistan's Paktel for US$460 million.

Wang Jianzhou, chairman of China Mobile, said on Tuesday that his group was now willing to become a minority shareholder in other telecoms groups, especially in Asia and other emerging markets, according to the FT. It used to focus on buying majority stakes with management control.