Beidou receiver chips may drop in price and compete with US’ GPS

By Ji Beibei Source:Global Times Published: 2012-11-18 23:25:05

Receiver chips for the Beidou satellite navigation system may become as cheap as those of the Global Positioning System (GPS) next year in China, a step that industry experts said Sunday would accelerate Beidou's commercial viability in the country.

Chip prices, once a barrier to commercializing the Beidou system, may undergo several cuts next year, bringing them close to those of GPS, Zhao Yao-sheng, a satellite navigation expert who consults for Beijing BDStar Navigation Co, told the Global Times Sunday.

Beidou, or Compass, is a homegrown global navigation satellite system in China. Similar systems around the world include the EU's Galileo system, the US' GPS and the Russian Global Navigation Satellite System.

Xinhua News Agency reported in 2011 that over 95 percent of navigation users in China used GPS chips. But this may change, industry experts said, if Beidou can offer similar precision and its receiver chip prices drop significantly.

Currently, Beidou receiver chips are several times more expensive than GPS chips.

China launched its 16th Beidou geostationary satellite on October 25 and formed the Beidou-2 positioning network, which will begin an era of rapid development for the Beidou system, China News Service (CNS) reported.

"2012 will be an introductory year" for the rapid application of the Beidou system in positioning, navigation and timekeeping in China, Zhao said, noting however that it may take several more decades for the system to be widely applied in Chinese daily life.

It also took GPS over a decade after its debut to gain a wide audience, Zhao said.

The market for Beidou system services in China is expected to exceed 200 billion yuan ($32 billion) by 2015 and over 400 billion yuan by 2020, CNS reported.

"We believe the prospects for Beidou's applications are promising, and the system is significant to China because with it, we no longer rely on foreign providers for navigation services," Min Xiangjun, with the China Center for Resource Satellite Data and Applications, told the Global Times Sunday.

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