China Netcom is finalising a US$300 million private equity exercise to fund expansion of its fibre-optic network. The investment would amount to about an 11 per cent stake in China's fifth telecommunications carrier, which has been valued at more than US$2.5 billion, chief executive Edward Tian said yesterday. Mr Tian also confirmed Australia-based media giant News Corp, United States-based investment bank Goldman Sachs and computer giant Dell Computer founder Michael Dell, were to take stakes. However, he declined to comment on reports that Sun Hung Kai Properties' Kwok brothers and Henderson Land Development chairman Lee Shau-kee were part of the fund-raising. 'We are targeting to complete the deal by the end of this year,' Mr Tian said. He dispelled legal concerns about the investment - foreign investors are barred from making direct investments in mainland telecoms companies - saying China Netcom had secured Beijing's approval. The company focuses on the provision of data communications services and voice calls over the Internet. It has planned capital expenditure of about seven billion yuan (HK$6.55 billion) for the year to March 31, 2002, compared with 5.4 billion yuan for next year. Mr Tian said the company was not eager to seek a stock market listing.