Durban to house R150m Chinese fibre-optics plant

Gareth van Zyl

Johannesburg - Chinese fibre maker YOFC is injecting R150m into a local manufacturing facility to produce one million kilometres of cable each year.

Durban’s Dube Tradeport Special Economic Zone will house the fibre-making facility, which is expected to be completed and operational by the end of 2016.

The company further plans to hire 100 to 150 staff and will target telecom companies Telkom, Cell C, Vodacom and MTN with its products, YOFC’s Peng Guotai told Fin24. YOFC further plans to target financial services and mining companies, said Guotai.

The company’s move to install a local fibre facility comes amid greater adoption of high-speed broadband in South Africa. Telkom has targeted providing fibre broadband access to one million homes by 2018, while independent player Vumatel plans to connect 100 000 households by 2016.

"The optic fibre cable demand will actually grow rapidly in South Africa,” Guotai told Fin24.

"We are not actually only targeting South Africa. We are also targeting the neighbouring countries such as Zimbabwe, Zambia, Namibia, Botswana. All these countries are also developing and they also require this optic fibre cable.

"So, South Africa is a good point for us. South Africa has a good feeder system; the financial structure is very good,” he said.

Currently, YOFC has a sales force in South Africa but it is planning to ramp up operations by registering a formal local company in early 2016, Guotai said.

YOFC was listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in December 2014 while its headquarters are located in China’s East Lake Hi-tech Development Zone.

The announcement of the fibre-optic plant comes before the start of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation in Johannesburg on December 4-5. YOFC's Peng Guotai told Fin24 that he plans to attend this forum as well.