Submerged in the global cable market

In the edition of December 2016, Wire Journal International magazine has a featured industry profile, Submerged in the global cable market, about Winston Qiu and his industry leading open portal SubmarineNetworks.com. 

Wire Journal International (WJI) is the leading technical publication for the wire and cable industry. Published monthly, WJI is written for executives, engineers, technical and sales professionals, and purchasing agents engaged in the manufacture of ferrous and nonferrous wire and cable; electrical wire and cable; fiber optic cable; and formed and fabricated wire products. Editorial coverage includes management, marketing, and manufacturing methods, as well as technical developments related to drawing, extruding, rolling, forming and fabricating wire and wire products.

WJI-Industry Profile-Winston Qiu

WJI: How did you come to launch Submarine Cable Networks in 2011? At the time, was there anything similar?

Winston: SubmarineNetworks.com website was officially launched in May 2011. I came up with this idea at the end of 2010. At that time, I had been working in the submarine cable industry and capacity market for more than 10 years, as a network architect, presales consultant, capacity buyer, etc. Information on submarine cable systems and the capacity market was quite limited. Most professionals considered it to be private information and few either wanted to share it or to pay a consulting company to acquire it. An example of what we offer is shown on the next page. I tried at first to write a book to share my knowledge and expertise, but gave up on that. I found that it would be better to develop an internet website as it would be able to reach a larger audience and be a better forum for visitors to enjoy free expression about this exciting field.

WJI: What was your concept for your website? How has it expanded?
Winston: At first, I tried to make it just a knowledge base for myself and my peers. After about three years, the website reached a leading position in the global submarine cable industry. I was amazed as this was done largely by my efforts and cost. I am quite proud to see that visitors included not just industry professionals, but others who were part of a world wide range of internet users. On a global ranking, Alexa.com has us at over 700,000. Considering our niche, that is good, and I hope to further improve that rating.

WJI: Did you have specific goals in terms of what type of audience you are seeking? Have those changed much?
Winston: At the very beginning, I thought the submarine cable industry was a niche market. It still is. But submarine cable capacity has become one of the most foundational demands for the global internet, as important as gas and oil is to the global economy. Internet users worldwide want to understand how submarine cable networks work, especially when their access to the internet is impacted by a submarine cable outage, or when there is news of significant additional supply of submarine cable capacity. In such cases, when internet users search any specific submarine cable in Google, the traffic likely will be driven to submarinenetworks.com, due to my innovative design of the website architecture and rich content.

WJI: Why is your site free? What do you get out of all this work?
Winston: I have been engaged in not only submarine cable industry, but also the internet industry. I find this very enjoyable. I enjoy the spirit of the open internet and I wish to change
the semi-closed status of the submarine cable industry. So, because of those beliefs, I decided
at the very beginning to make submarinenetworks.com open and free. I operate and manage
the website at my own cost, with certain kinds of sponsorship. I am looking for more sponsors and investors to make the website a better and open platform for the industry. Also, we continue to be a media partner of Submarine Networks World, the world’s leading subsea cable industry gathering.

WJI: How much time does your website take up? Do you have other people help?
Winston: It took me about half a year to design and finalize the website architecture. I outsourced it for coding, technical maintenance and Search Engine Optimization (SEO). So far, most of the articles are collected, written and edited by myself. I also have been cultivating my own SEO and internet marketing skill, which is why the articles at my website usually rank tops in Google searches.

WJI: You are head of products and applications for China Unicom Global Limited: does your company support your mission?
Winston: Though there isn’t any financial, material or technical support from my company, there isn’t any obstacle as well. So, I take that as encouragement. My achievement at submarinenetworks.com does contribute to promote my employer’s brand in the industry, as most peers and enterprise customers become more confident in the services of China Unicom Global after visiting my website.

WJI: Do you have specific goals for what/where you would like to be, say, five or 10 years from now?
Winston: Yes. I do have further goals. Beyond being the first and top-most portal in global submarine cable industry, submarinenetworks.com will be a vertical industry cloud platform for global submarine cable industry, connecting knowledge base, professionals, stakeholders and network trading. I aim to change current wholesale business model for cable capacity market through innovative online trading.