China United Network Communications Group Co., Ltd. or China Unicom is a Chinese state-owned telecommunications operator of China. China Unicom is the world's fourth-largest mobile service provider by subscriber base. Started as a wireless paging and GSM mobile operator, it currently provides a wide range of services including nationwide GSM mobile network, long-distance, local calling, data communication, Internet services, and IP telephony in mainland China. China Unicom has operated a CDMA network in Macau since October 18, 2006 and internet services in North Korea since 2010. As of the end of April 2008, the company had 125 million GSM subscribers and 43 million CDMA subscribers. As of November 2008 the CDMA operations have been moved to China Telecommunications Corporation (China Telecom Group). On 7 January 2009, China Unicom was awarded WCDMA license to expand its business to 3G telecommunication. UMTS (Universal Mobile Telecommunications System) was launched in major cities across China on May 17, 2009.
On July 11, 2020, China Unicom joined hands with LuHan to launch the "FuLu Companion Card", which sounded the forward number for the further development of 5G. LuHan also officially unlocked his new identity and became a "China Unicom Innovation Partner", with the "FuLu companion card" to bring exclusive benefits and surprises to the majority of Unicom users.
China Unicom was founded as a state-owned enterprise on 18 June 1994 by the Ministry of Railways, the Ministry of Electronics Industry and the Ministry of Electric Power Industry the establishment was approved by the State Council in December 1993.
In February 2000 a subsidiary "China Unicom Hong Kong" was incorporated in Hong Kong and was listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange on June 22, 2000.
The intermediate parent company "China Unicom (Hong Kong) Limited" was "China Unicom (BVI) Limited", As of 31 December 2001, the BVI company owned 77.47% shares of China Unicom (H.K.). In turn, China Unicom (H.K.) owned the operating subsidiaries of the group. In 2002, another intermediate parent company "China United Network Communications Limited" was established in Shanghai (headquartered in Beijing), to own 51% stake of "China Unicom (BVI) Limited" as well as listing the shares in the Shanghai Stock Exchange. As of 31 December 2002, state-owned China Unicom Group owned 74.6% shares of the A share company, in turn the A share company owned 73.84% of the BVI company. The BVI company owned 77.47% shares of the red chip company. To sum up, the Chinese Government via A share company, owned 42.67% stake of the operating subsidiaries, as well as additional 20.27% stake by the minority stake in the BVI company.
Merger with China Netcom
On June 2, 2008, China Unicom announced its intention to sell its CDMA business and assets to China Telecommunications Corporation (China Telecom Group) for a combined total of 110 billion RMB and to merge the remainder of the company, in a share swap valued at US$56.3 billion (based on Unicom's stock last traded price) on June 2, 2008, with China Netcom. The CDMA business was officially moved to China Telecom in early November.
In July 2009, China Unicom signed a $700 million deal with infrastructure vendor Ericsson to upgrade the company's GSM network.
China Unicom has operated an internet services in the North Korea since 2010.
In April 2012, China Unicom was a founding member in the formation of Cloud Computing Industry Alliance in Beijing. Other members of the alliance include Baidu, Tencent, and Alibaba.