Efficient model helps China get ahead of US in 5G

By Hu Weijia Source:Global Times Published: 2019/11/21 23:32:51

Two smartphones connected to the 5G network (R) and the 4G network (L) respectively are shown for comparison by a Chinese mobile service provider at the 2019 Smart China Expo in southwest China's Chongqing Municipality, Aug. 26, 2019. (Photo: Xinhua)

Why will China, not the US, become the world's largest 5G market? It's a crucial question, as the 5G sector will contribute $3 trillion to the global economy over the next 15 years, Minister of Science and Technology Wang Zhigang said Thursday. He forecast that China will become the biggest 5G market in the world by 2025.

Since 2015, China has reportedly outspent the US by $24 billion in 5G infrastructure. In the same period, according to media reports, the US built fewer than 30,000 new cell sites, while the corresponding number in China was more than 10 times higher. The race to deploy 5G has heated up, but the US so far doesn't have many chances to take the lead. 

It won't be easy to change that situation, because China has some key advantages. With a population of about 1.4 billion, China's consumer market is on the rise. As a result, the growth of China's consumption-oriented digital economy has created ample demand for faster mobile broadband. 

Many high-technology companies in China, Huawei included, have spent heavily on 5G research and development in past years. The country has an internal driving force of 5G technology development that draws on expanding digital consumption and the emergence of new business models such as e-commerce.

Chinese authorities have made the development of cutting-edge technologies an economic priority, cutting red tape and reducing costs to stimulate the economy. The Chinese government is highly capable of mobilizing resources and coordinating action to promote economic development. 

An indigenous economic development model has been formed in China. Although Western media outlets always criticize the model, it is undeniably efficient.

The situation in the US is very different. Several Western media reports have suggested that US 5G development will lag because of partisan strife and defects in the US political system. The US is still uncertain how to expand broadband service in rural areas and the nation's telecom infrastructure is desperately in need of investment. All those factors will obstruct US 5G development while promoting the same process in China.

The author is a reporter with the Global Times. bizopinion@globaltimes.com.cn


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