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June 12, 2015

Beginning early in July 2015, several major Chinese airlines will offer inflight Wi-Fi on both domestic and international flights. China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology has approved China Eastern Airlines, China Southern Airlines, and Air China to use the AsiaSat-6 satellite to provide Wi-Fi. According to a representative from China Southern Airlines, & the state-of-the-art technology enables air passengers to experience faster Wi-Fi service on plane than even at home. The airlines all stated passenger demand as the primary reason for securing the new inflight technology, and they have indicated greater than 90% of all transcontinental routes will be covered by the global Wi-Fi service. 

Analyst Comment: Pinkerton assesses there is likely great demand for inflight Wi-Fi services on Chinese airlines transcontinental flights. However, as the three carriers all service U.S. cities, Pinkerton assesses there may be some issues with China’s censorship policies, which is often referred to as the Great Firewall. Furthermore, given China’s propensity for industrial espionage, it is likely the Chinese government will attempt to use Wi-Fi services on transcontinental flights as a collection opportunity with respect to foreign governments and businesses. Pinkerton recommends that clients disable Bluetooth devices and make prudent choices prior to using Wi-Fi services on Chinese airlines.