The leaders of Japan and China may this week discuss jointly developing a next-generation mobile telephone network for the Chinese market, a government official said Tuesday.
Japan uses the so-called third-generation (3G) mobile phone standard, which allows smooth transmission of images and music files, while second-generation technology still predominates in China.
Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso is expected to meet Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao on Wednesday and President Hu Jintao on Thursday in Beijing.
A Japanese industry ministry official said a mobile phone system upgrade "is one of the subjects that they may discuss during the summit" but he added that no agreement was expected yet.
Japan's Nikkei business daily said Aso and Wen were expected to agree that the two Asian giants jointly develop 3G and the more advanced 3.9G services, which could quickly transmit video files, for the Chinese market.
Japanese mobile phone companies in China have lagged behind rivals such as Finnish Nokia Corp. and South Korea's Samsung Electronics Co. due to the incompatibility of standards.
If they reach an agreement, the two sides will jointly develop applications and content for the 3.9G services which Japan also plans to introduce next year, the Nikkei said without citing sources.
With foreign firms accounting for more than 70 percent of the Chinese mobile phone market, Beijing aims to bolster the technical prowess of home-grown companies through the alliance, the Nikkei said.
Tokyo hopes the technological cooperation will help Japanese firms make inroads into China's heavily regulated telecoms sector, the paper said.
(c) 2009 AFP
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