China's BeiDou system is on rapid rise, open to global cooperation
China open to global cooperation in BeiDou application
Published: Sep 16, 2021 09:38 PM
File photo of a model of the Beidou Satellite Navigation System.Photo:Xinhua

File photo of a model of the Beidou Satellite Navigation System.Photo:Xinhua

From life-or-death situations like disaster warning to tiny gadgets like smart watches, Chinese companies displayed how the country's self-developed BeiDou Navigation Satellite System (BDS) has been put into use across many different areas at the First International Summit on BDS Applications, which opened on Thursday in Changsha, Central China's Hunan Province. 

This is the first major international event held by China to showcase the latest BeiDou application achievements, as well as previewing the BDS' future application prospects. The summit runs from Thursday to Friday. 

Chinese President Xi Jinping sent a congratulatory letter to the summit on Thursday and said that the large-scale application of BDS has entered a critical stage of marketization, industrialization and internationalization, according to the Xinhua News Agency.

"Since I announced the commissioning of the BDS-3 global navigation satellite system in July last year, the BDS has been put into use in more than half of the countries and regions in the world," he said, stressing that China is willing to work with all sides to promote the building of the BDS and the development of the BDS industry.

China's development of the BeiDou system came after the US' GPS but has caught up rapidly in recent years, industry analysts told the Global Times on Thursday, noting that many domestic companies have developed chips, modules and other components to use the BDS in a wide range of areas. 

Changsha Haige BeiDou Information Technology Co, a satellite navigation positioning chipmaker based in Changsha, showcased the company's self-developed BeiDou "Dolphin series" chips , as well as chips with high-precision positioning and short messaging functions, which can be used in some areas without internet access.

Pi Jianlin, director of marketing planning for the firm, told the Global Times on Thursday that the chips' performance has reached world-leading levels and has been applied to many areas like transportation and disaster prevention. 

For example, the company's Dolphin series chips have been used in the modification of 10 Boeing 737-800 planes. The firm has also partnered with a tourism site in East China's Jiangxi Province to help locate tourists and deal with emergencies. 

Liu Jiayang, general manager assistant of the Hunan Bynav Technology also told the Global Times that the company displays its self-developed GNSS high precision positioning chips as well as X2 and M1 high-precision GNSS/INS integration system at the summit.

According to him, the high-precision positioning systems can be used on smart cars, self-driving trucks and inspection robots, etc. Currently, the company has one production line of automotive-grade GNSS/INS integrated navigation system, whose capacity is up to 500,000 sets per year, and could also be expanded to 7,000,000 per year based on client requirements.

These developments are a reflection of China's rapid advancements surrounding BeiDou applications over recent years. In 2020, the output of China's BeiDou system industrial chain has exceeded 400 billion yuan ($62.05 billion), according to media reports. 

Independent telecom analyst Xiang Ligang told the Global Times that the BeiDou system provides two-way communication that can transmit data back to the satellites, with the GPS and other overseas systems only beam out signals picked by devices.

Because of this function, as well as the fact that BeiDou has higher definition than other systems, it can be expected that its share in the global market might be on par with the now more popular GPS system, he said. 

However, he cautioned that the promotion of BeiDou system and its products face uncertainties created by geopolitical tensions, as some overseas countries may seek to exclude BeiDou from their markets, as has happened to Chinese telecom firm, Huawei, Xiang said.