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Chinese system illumines path for users worldwide

By Ma Si | China Daily | Updated: 2020-08-17 09:24
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A remote-controlled lightship equipped with Beidou Navigation Satellite System is seen at the Pearl River estuary. [Photo/Xinhua]

Chinese companies are working to introduce Beidou-related products in more overseas countries, after the navigation system has garnered about 100 million users and covered more than 200 countries and regions.

Zhou Ruxin, chairman of BDStar Navigation, a Beijing-based company that develops Beidou-related high-precision positioning equipment, said: "After Beidou started offering full-scale global services, people anywhere in the world can access Beidou's high-quality services, which will further promote the global application of the Beidou system and accelerate Chinese products' go-global push."

In recent years, the company has acquired a 50-percent stake in In-tech GmbH, a German automobile engineering service provider, for 60 million euros ($71 million) and a 100-percent stake in Rx Networks Inc, a Canadian navigation satellite system provider, for an undisclosed amount. The moves are part of its broader efforts to go global.

By the end of 2019, Chinese products based on the Beidou system had been sold to more than 120 countries and regions, playing a helpful role in a number of public sector fields, according to a report from the Global Navigation Satellite System and Location-based Services Association of China, which goes by the abbreviation GLAC.

Beidou covered the entire Asia-Pacific region in 2012, and started offering full-scale services on July 31. During the time period, Beidou has seen increasing applications, from land ownership investigations to smart agriculture, intelligent construction, and other areas in Asia, Europe and Africa.

For instance, Beidou has helped Russia improve its electric grid inspections, made operations more convenient for users of unmanned aerial vehicles or drones in Cambodia, boosted management efficiency of many warehouses in Thailand, and facilitated construction work in Kuwait, according to the China Satellite Navigation Office.

To promote the global application of Beidou, China has implemented the "Beidou System Tour" series of events, and pushed forward the establishment of the Beidou System Centers in a number of countries. The BSCs will enable better understanding of the navigation system, said a white paper on China's Beidou Navigation Satellite System published by the State Council Information Office.

According to the white paper, China has also opened the Beidou International Exchange and Training Center, and a demonstration platform for education and training in the field of satellite navigation.

In addition, academic education, summer schools, short-term training courses, symposiums, and other international education and training activities have been regularly held to popularize knowledge of Beidou.

In April 2019, the second China-Arab States BDS (Beidou System) Cooperation Forum was held in the Tunisian capital Tunis, which was reported by Xinhua News Agency.

"The BDS cooperation is the best example of strategic cooperation between China and Arab states, as satellite navigation integrates many high-tech areas, including telecommunication and space technologies," said Slim Khalbous, Tunisian minister of higher education and scientific research, at the forum.

Wang Zhaoyao, chairman of the Chinese Satellite Navigation Committee, said the Beidou system has been applied in many Middle East and African countries, including Tunisia, Algeria, Kuwait and Sudan, in areas such as precision agriculture, telecommunication, maritime monitoring and disaster relief.

Following the full commissioning of the Beidou system, Simonetta Di Pippo, director of the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs, said in a congratulatory letter: "This historic milestone is a significant step toward increasing the availability of precise geolocation services through Global Navigation Satellite Systems for people all over the world.

"Initiated in 1994, the Beidou program has been over 25 years in the making. This result is only possible with a long-standing and sustained commitment to space. Indeed, the completion of the Beidou program reminds us all: space is not easy and must always be considered in the long term."

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