Business / China's navigation system

Promising navigation net

(China Daily) Updated: 2012-11-07 07:52

That China has joined the satellite navigation and positioning club alongside the United States, Russia and the European Union shows the importance the country has attached to innovation and technology.

It was of vital importance for China to develop such a global satellite navigation system of its own, not just for its own security but for the advancement of its economy.

The Beidou satellite navigation system is at present supported by 16 satellites and there are plans to increase the number to 35 by 2020. In recent years, the satellite navigation system has already been extensively used for telecommunications, meteorological observation, and in the fishing, transportation and other industries. It also played an important role in the rescue and relief operations after the Wenchuan earthquake in 2008 and the Zhouqu mudslide in 2010.

The Xihe positioning system, which has proved to have greater accuracy than its counterparts in tests, will officially launch next year in much of the Asia-Pacific region.

Despite the gap yet to be bridged with developed counterparts, Beidou and Xihe signal a bright future for the innovation-driven development of the economy, as they show that the country has a good command of the core technologies required. And it is noteworthy that the domestic companies involved in the project own the property rights to these technologies.

In 2011, the scale of the satellite navigation industries amounted to more than 80 billion yuan ($12.8 billion). The output value of industries related to navigation services is expected to reach 225 billion yuan by 2012 and 400 billion yuan by 2020, according to the Ministry of Science and Technology. This shows how technology breakthroughs in a particular field can boost the wider economy.

That China is open to developing satellite navigation systems in cooperation with the rest of the world and is willing to share with other countries its technological achievements, sends the message that it is sincere about its peaceful path of development.

China has established a center for international cooperation on satellite navigation systems and hopes that more countries, developing ones in particular, will get involved in their development. This shows that China never forgets its international obligations as a responsible partner in the world.

(China Daily 11/07/2012 page8)

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