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China Businessman Assures Nicaragua Canal Success

Wang offered little new information about himself, saying that he comes from an ordinary Chinese family in Beijing and that he studied traditional Chinese medicine before becoming a businessman.

He has invested in several industries, including telecommunications and mining. In 2010, Wang invested in the medium-sized Chinese telecommunications company Xinwei Telecom Enterprise Group. Since then he has been credited with turning it around financially, partly by expanding into overseas markets, including Nicaragua, where Xinwei was granted an operating license last November.

The company builds telecom networks and develops wireless communication technology â¿¿ though its patent technology McWiLL is considered obscure. In Cambodia, Xinwei has become the latest player in the country's telecommunication market by offering phone and data services that are now available in Phnom Penh, the capital, with plans to expand nationwide.

In Nicaragua, a Xinwei contract to invest as much as $700 million to improve the country's telecom system has so far shown little sign of any spending, leading to skepticism about Wang's competence to build a canal. "It's all a lie," opposition Nicaraguan congressman Eliseo Nunez said earlier this month.

Ji Yongqing, a Chinese information technology commentator, said Xinwei apparently has fit into the strategic push by China's government to help developing countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America with projects sourced with Chinese products.

"Personally, I think Xinwei's success has a lot to do with China's strategy to go out and use Chinese products in its aid projects," Ji said.

Xinwei's website has pictures of Chinese leaders, including President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang, visiting the company, indicating its likely solid government connections â¿¿ a boon for any business in a country where the government controls key resources and much of the economy.

Wang said the canal project is purely a business venture with no connection to the Chinese government. China has no diplomatic relations with Nicaragua.

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