China plans to merge its estimated 2,000 cable companies, which reach 90% of its 1.2bn population, into a singe entity according to a report in the China Daily newspaper.

The director of China's State Administration of Radio, Film and TV (SARFT), Xu Guangchaun, was quoted as saying that the move would prepare the country for its entry into the World Trade Organisation. Another SARFT official, Zhu Zhentie, said: "We are also preparing for the convergence of the broadcasting network, the telecom network and the computer network."

Convergence has been strictly off the agenda in China until now, except in the city of Shanghai. The China Daily report did not say who would own the cable titan or what it will be called. But if plans are realised it could provide competition for the country's current state monopolies: China Telecom, which controls fixed-line telephony, China Netcom, which has been rolling out a fibre optic network, and China Central Television, which controls TV.