China, US should cooperate on 5G

Source:Global Times Published: 2019/12/17 21:07:24

Illustration: Luo Xuan/GT

The fifth generation mobile technology (5G), which represents the future of the information and communication technology (ICT), is a crucial factor for China to promote quality development and also a key technology for all economies to realize their own development. As many countries expedite the development of the technology, highly intertwined global industrial chains, supply chains and value chains are taking shape. Such a high-tech innovation endeavor was born from global cooperation, and its further development also needs the international community to work together more closely with an open mind, especially China and the US.

Since 2018, the trade relation between the world's two largest economies has become strained. The academia and business communities from both sides have engaged in deep discussion about how to promote bilateral cooperation in high technologies and industries. They have been calling the two countries work jointly to promote open cooperation among the international community. The 5G industry research carried out by China Center for International Economic Exchanges and US company Qualcomm shows that China and the US could totally realize complementary and win-win cooperation through 5G development.

The Chinese government highly values the 5G technology development as a key innovation strategic plan. Many departments have issued facilitation policies for the industry. According to a study of the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology (CAICT), 5G commercialization is expected to create economic added value of 3.3 trillion yuan ($472 billion) from 2020 to 2025, indirectly contributing 8.4 trillion yuan to economic growth.

China has experienced a process of catching up to leading from the 2G to 5G era. In terms of 5G technology development, several Chinese standards have been adopted international wise. In terms of 5G industry development, Chinese 5G development has seen progress in all aspects, including frequency, chipsets, terminals and operators. More than 8 million jobs are expected to be created in Chinese 5G related industries by 2030.

China also has the largest market in the world. In November, GSMA Intelligence forecast in a 100-page study that 1.57 billion people worldwide are expected to adopt 5G by 2025, or 18 percent of total mobile users. China, the US, Japan and South Korea will account for more than half of the world's subscribers to super-fast 5G mobile networks by 2025. 

China has seen smartphone shipments of 358 million sets from January to November, but the 5G smartphone shipment still remains relatively low due to incomplete 5G network coverage. In the future, the 5G industry in China is expected to see the best opportunity.

The vast market and complete industry chain make China an ideal place for US companies that have established advantages in technologies and patents. For example, Qualcomm has seen good revenue and profits in China's market in the past, which accounts for as high as 60 percent of the company's global revenue. The US company Intel's revenue in China also accounts for as high as 36 percent of its global revenue.

China and the US should work together to accomplish complementary and win-win cooperation in 5G development, expediting the world's 5G development. Better cooperation of industries from both sides could better promote the cooperation of the two countries in other sectors and benefit the people of both countries, which will eventually play positive roles for the world's sustainable development.

The article was compiled based on an address of Zhang Xiaoqiang, CCIEE executive vice chairman, at a 5G economy seminar. 


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