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A stake of around 20% in China Unicom is up for sale as part of Chinese government national policy. Chinese media are reporting that the buyer or buyers could be one or more of China’s large Internet players: Alibaba, Tencent, or Baidu.


  • The Super SMART player is the merger of a very large CSP that plays aggressively in five areas – services, management, applications, (customer) relationship, and technology – plus the internet.
  • The new outfit is deemed Super SMART because it vertically integrates the CSP's assets (network, large customer base, cash flow) with the services and platforms of the internet player.

Features and Benefits

  • Looks at speculation about Internet players buying into CSPs, as this is the first time this concept could become a reality.
  • Evaluates whether the CSP-OTT tie up will only become a reality in China, or whether we might see similar co-operation globally.

Key questions answered

  • What is driving the formation of a potential Super SMART player in China?
  • Will other Internet players, such as Google, also want to purchase stakes in CSPs, creating other global Super SMART players?

Table of contents


  • In brief
  • Ovum view
  • Recommendations

Market status

  • The 2025 roles of the operator revisited
  • The SMART operator in more detail

Market dynamics

  • About 20% for sale in Unicom; Alibaba could be a buyer
  • So what is a Super SMART player?
  • How would a Unicom Super SMART player work?

Market outlook

  • Internet players elsewhere won't see value in SMART players
  • The clash of cultures will be an enormous challenge


  • Methodology
  • Further reading
  • Author

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