China races to rival the U.S. with its own GPS system — but one analyst says it won’t overtake the U.S. yetPosted: June 6, 2021
Yen Nee Lee 5 days ago
- China could become a major player in the “highly lucrative” satellite navigation market, said Craig Singleton, adjunct fellow at Foundation for Defense of Democracies.
- For now, China’s homegrown Beidou system doesn’t appear to threaten the dominance of the U.S. government-owned Global Positioning System (GPS), said Singleton.
- Beidou has rekindled concerns among those in the West about privacy and security of Chinese technology, he added.
China is set to become a major player in the “highly lucrative” satellite navigation market, as it seeks to compete with the U.S. government-owned Global Positioning System (GPS), an analyst said Monday.
But China’s homegrown Beidou system is not likely to overtake the GPS system for now, said Craig Singleton, adjunct fellow at the hawkish Foundation for Defense of Democracies.
“China has marked a major step in its race to increase market share in this highly lucrative sector,” Singleton told CNBC’s “Squawk Box Asia.”
“The completion of the system also reaffirms China’s status as a world power. It represents a major declaration about its technical independence from the West, which carries wide-ranging geopolitical implications,” said Singleton.
More than 120 countries — including Pakistan and Thailand — are using China’s Beidou system for purposes such as monitoring traffic at ports or guiding rescue operations, the analyst said.
And Beijing is counting on its massive Belt and Road Initiative to “convince” more countries to use Beidou, he added.
The Beidou system was completed in June last year. Chinese state media Xinhua said last week that the value of Beidou-related industries will exceed 1 trillion yuan ($157.1 billion) by 2025.
Singleton said Beidou’s completion has rekindled concerns among some in the West about the privacy and security of Chinese technology. He explained that some people fear Beijing could use its technology to track individuals, such as dissidents or democracy activists.
Such concerns have come as U.S.-China competition heats up in the technology space. The U.S. under former President Donald Trump introduced export controls on several Chinese tech companies, including telecommunications equipment maker Huawei and top chipmaker SMIC, or Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp.
President Joe Biden has kept many Trump-era restrictions on Chinese companies. Biden is seeking to boost investments in U.S. research and development so that his country can build tech capabilities to compete with China.
For now, China’s Beidou system doesn’t appear to threaten the dominance of GPS, said Singleton.
“At this point, it doesn’t look as if Beidou is going to overcome GPS, but it’s certainly possible that we will see a bifurcated system, bifurcated world between GPS and Beidou in the future,” the analyst said.
— CNBC’s Arjun Kharpal contributed to this report.
Source: CNBC “China races to rival the U.S. with its own GPS system — but one analyst says it won’t overtake the U.S. yet”
Note: This is CNBC’s report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean whether I agree or disagree with the report’s views.
PLA aircraft continue drills near Taiwan as border troops get new gear
By Liu Xuanzun
Published: Feb 07, 2021 07:32 PM Updated: Feb 07, 2021 07:42 PM
Chinese President Xi Jinping called for the Chinese military to enhance its combat readiness during the upcoming Spring Festival holidays when he recently inspected an aviation division of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Air Force. Experts said other militaries should not have the illusion that they can make provocative moves during the holidays without meeting PLA’s countermeasures.
PLA warplanes continued their consecutive exercises near the island of Taiwan prior to the Spring Festival, and the high-altitude border defense troops of the Xinjiang Military Command received several new weapons and equipment including advanced howitzers and assault vehicles as “holiday gifts,” media reports said.
Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, on Thursday inspected an aviation division of the PLA Air Force being stationed in Southwest China’s Guizhou Province ahead of the Spring Festival, or the Chinese Lunar New Year, the Xinhua News Agency reported on Saturday.
He said that PLA troops should enhance their combat readiness during the Spring Festival holidays and safeguard national security as well as the happiness and peace of the people.
This year’s Spring Festival falls on Friday, and there is a seven-day national holiday from Thursday to February 17.
It is usual practice for the Chinese military to enhance its combat readiness in major holidays, Fu Qianshao, a Chinese military expert, told the Global Times on Sunday.
“History tells us that many wars broke out on holidays or at night when troops let their guard down. That is why we need to stay on high alert particularly when there are holidays, so we can stop any potentially dangerous moves or hostile reconnaissance,” Fu said.
While China has witnessed peace for a long time, provocative moves by other militaries had occurred during holidays in the past.
For instance, on January 25, 2020, the Spring Festival of last year, the US Navy sent the USS Montgomery littoral combat ship near the Nansha Islands in the South China Sea, and was tracked, identified and warned away by naval and aerial forces of the PLA Southern Theater Command, the command’s spokesperson said at that time.
During his inspection at the PLA Air Force aviation division, Xi inspected a special aircraft designed for information warfare.
Special mission aircraft developed on the basis of Y-8 and Y-9, including reconnaissance aircraft, electronic countermeasures aircraft and anti-submarine warfare aircraft, can enable the PLA to gain informational advantage in future warfare, a military expert who asked not to be identified told the Global Times on Sunday. The expert noted that these types of aircraft have been frequent visitors near the Taiwan Straits since the start of PLA military exercises in the region in September 2020, which have become routine.
PLA warplanes entered Taiwan’s self-proclaimed southwestern air defense identification zone for seven consecutive days since the start of February, Taipei-based newspaper Liberty Times reported on Sunday. The media outlet also noted that the intensive PLA operations come only days before the Spring Festival.
As the Spring Festival edges near, PLA border defense troops are also receiving unique “holiday gifts,” including 155mm-caliber vehicle-mounted howitzers, armored assault vehicles and light tanks, according to China Central Television (CCTV) reports.
An artillery regiment attached to the PLA Xinjiang Military Command based in the northern foot of the Tianshan Mountains recently received delivery of a batch of the 155mm-caliber vehicle-mounted howitzers, CCTV reported on Saturday. The howitzer, designated as the PCL-181, is China’s most advanced of its kind with longest range, and characterized by its high mobility, fast reaction time, high accuracy and capability to shoot at 360 degrees, even when operating in plateaus and harsh cold, analysts said.
Another Xinjiang Military Command unit, a combined arms regiment, commissioned a batch of third-generation Dongfeng Mengshi armored assault vehicles that are equipped with radio stations, the BeiDou Navigation Satellite System, heavy machine guns and grenade launchers, CCTV said.
Last week, CCTV reported that the Xinjiang Military Command also received delivery of and commissioned its first batch of China’s newly developed Type 15 light tanks in January.
These weapons and equipment are particularly effective in plateau operations and will serve as a solid boost to the Chinese border defense troops’ combat capabilities during and after the Spring Festival festivals, analysts said.
Source: Global Times “Xi calls for enhanced combat readiness from Chinese military during holidays”
Note: This is Global Times’ report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.
Note: This is National Interest’s article I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the article’s views.
By Loz Blain
August 12, 2020
More than 30 years of planning and development have borne fruit six months ahead of schedule, as China’s complete BeiDou-3 global satellite positioning system was formally commissioned this month.
The 55th and final BeiDou satellite was launched on June 23rd, and has now completed testing and gone into full service. BeiDou is one of four global sat-nav positioning networks, alongside America’s GPS, Russia’s GLONASS and Europe’s Galileo system.
Originally conceived in the 1980s, the network represents a colossal business opportunity for China, which is projecting revenues approaching US$60 billion in 2020. More than this, though, it’s a huge military and strategic landmark for a country that has seen first-hand what it means to use a satellite positioning system owned by a rival nation.
Back in 1996, China was rattling its sabers by taking missile pot shots against targets close to Taiwan, when two of its GPS-guided missiles went off course and disappeared in an incident that later analysis determined could have been caused by American meddling with the positioning signal. Clearly, the nation’s leaders decided, a Sinocentric alternative was a critical strategic necessity, and the first satellites were put in orbit in the year 2000.
BeiDou’s public service delivers an average positioning accuracy of 2.34 meters (7.7 feet) according to a recent analysis by the International GNSS Monitoring and Assessment System. In certain areas within China, accuracy is already at the centimeter level, and with post-processing it could reach the millimeter level. Velocity measurement is better than 0.2 m/s, and timing accuracy is better than 20 nanoseconds.
There is also a military level of service, currently used only by China’s People’s Liberation Army and the Pakistan Armed forces, which offers 10-cm (4-in) accuracy and critical system status information.
BeiDou also offers a short message communication service through its satellites, which provides very limited emergency communications for those with the necessary equipment in areas with little other coverage, such as for ships out in the middle of the ocean. The BeiDou network has more than 99-percent coverage across the globe.
Apple and Samsung phones, among others, are already using BeiDou’s signal to improve the quality of their positioning services, as are all the Chinese brands. Last year, more than 70 percent of phones sold in China were BeiDou-enabled.
The full commissioning of the complete BeiDou network is an enormous technical achievement for China that will pay off for decades to come.
Source: newatlas.com “China’s BeiDou global satellite navigation system is fully operational”
Note: This is newatlas.com’s article I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the article’s views.
By Wu Lei 21:52, 29-May-2019
The U.S. ban on selling chips and other key components to Huawei has raised concerns among other Chinese tech companies. But I talked with two major players in the Beidou Navigation System who say they are not worried by the move.
Comnav Technology is one of the key suppliers of high precision modules and receivers for the Beidou Navigation System.
Comnav’s terminal products have been sold to over 100 countries including the U.S. /CGTN Photo
The U.S. government put Comnav’s products on its list of additional tariffs last year, but the company said the impact has been limited.
Yin Qing, Comnav Technology’s Vice General manager told CGTN that because they don’t have very big sales in the U.S. right now, tariffs didn’t really affect them.
China started to build its Beidou Navigation System in the late 1990s. High tech companies used to rely on imported components.
But after years of research, Chinese high tech companies have developed the core technology and completed the supply chain. Now, this module only costs around 2,000 U.S. dollars with all the same functions. These companies say the key for sustainable growth is building a complete industrial chain.
According to official data, 80 million chips have been sold for products using China’s BeiDou Navigation System. /CGTN Photo
From chipsets to receivers, thousands of companies have provided products and solutions in the sector. Shen Jun, Vice President of Beijing Unistrong Science and Technology Company told CGTN that once a senior scientist says the core technology cannot be bought, they have to develop their own key skills and technologies. He thinks this is the main lesson that can be learned from Beidou’s independent development.
Some Chinese tech companies may have felt increasing uncertainty due to the ongoing U.S.-China trade war, but experts say that where there is danger, there might be opportunities as well.
Experts say the trade war might be a double-edged sword for Chinese tech companies. /CGTN Photo
Wang Jianyu, the director of Chinese Academy of Sciences Shanghai Branch said in the short term, a ban may restrict you, but in the long run, it helps you to reshape your technology and business model.
Source: CGTN “China’s Beidou Navigation System ready to go global”
Note: This is CGTN’s report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.
By Sabena Siddiqui
Having launched an “Information Silk Road” and an exclusive satellite navigation system, BeiDou, China has virtually upgraded the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) network into a multi-dimensional super-project with a land, sea and space presence. Assimilating vast regions under a virtual umbrella to create an extensive zone of influence, the BRI will have its own Internet deep-sea cables connecting it globally, while BeiDou satellites help navigate all the machinery from aircraft to submarines.
Projected to connect all the countries participating in the BRI with technological links in addition to trade investments and infrastructure projects, a completely self-sufficient economic and security system has been conceived. According to research conducted by China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, this information and space corridor comprising a vast network of undersea cables, satellite networks and terrestrial links could make China “one of the world’s most important international submarine-cable communication centers within a decade or two.”
However, with this access to deep-sea cable networks, China could monitor or divert data traffic, and even cut off links with entire countries if it wished. Relaying 98% of global telecommunications data and situated in international waters, these cables are vulnerable to cyber-intrusion, particularly in underdeveloped countries, where such tampering cannot be monitored. Fearing such a breach, British national security adviser Mark Sedwill warned the UK Parliament in 2017 that attacks on undersea cables could have “the same effect as used to be achieved in, say, World War II by bombing the London docks or taking out a power station.”
Considering the global impact of managing satellites and deep-sea Internet cables, these new BRI features could further complicate relations between the US and China. Though it is essential and useful digital technology, the US might consider it a long-term surveillance strategy and try to prevent Beijing from getting more control over the global telecom infrastructure. Having similar reservations, other global powers would also wish to enhance the security of sensitive internet data from all over the world.
To balance this scenario, Western countries could increase investments in Asia’s digital economy and work on improving GPS (Global Positioning System) accuracy. Globally, Chinese companies are handling nearly 90 undersea cable projects either as owners or suppliers already. However, Internet users usually have no say over which cable systems transmit their data across the continents and just 380 active submarine cables handle global Internet traffic via 1,000 landing stations.
Once BRI countries are totally dependent on Beijing for their Internet freedom and defense operations, they will have to manage their issues with China only, as it will run and maintain their undersea Internet cables and satellite navigation. This is positive, as having an exclusive space and digital system as part of the Belt and Road Initiative may prevent Internet disruption in participating countries.
Having an exclusive space and digital system as part of the Belt and Road Initiative may prevent Internet disruption in participating countries
Initially, though, Beijing had started out with these plans as it wanted to benefit from the global digital economy and arrest China’s slowing economic growth. Implementing an “Internet-Plus” strategy, Beijing developed cross-border e-commerce to increase trade volume, build a China-ASEAN Information Harbor and generally encourage digital economic cooperation. After some years, the Internet dimension of the BRI was formally introduced in 2017 to connect China digitally with the Arab world and onward to Africa by laying fiber-optic cables across Pakistan.
Crossing the sea from Gwadar Port in Pakistan, the digital corridor links China’s Xinjiang with Khunjerab on the Pakistani-Chinese border by land, providing a safe route for voice traffic between the two countries. Once it is completed in 2020, 6,299 kilometers of underwater cables will extend to Djibouti from Gwadar and form the Digital Silk Route between Asia and Africa.
In tandem, a space-based Silk Road provides satellite navigation support to all BRI countries. Introduced in the Pakistani coastal city of Karachi, the first Beidou base station of the Space Silk Road became operational in 2017. Spreading across Southeast Asia, BeiDou is progressing rapidly now and 30 BRI countries are linked up. Striving for better accuracy, Beidou aims to replace the American GPS satellite network that has dominated the field for decades.
Outstripping GPS, which runs on 31 satellites, the total number of satellites launched by China under BeiDou reached 40 last year. Apparently, eight more satellites operated by the Chinese BeiDou Navigation Satellite System (BDS) have become functional, according to a report presented at the second China-Arab States BDS Cooperation Forum in Tunis last week. Providing high-quality navigational service to the Arab world, the positioning accuracy of these satellites is categorized as better than 10 meters. Over the next year, there are plans to launch at least 10 more satellites to provide BDS global services.
Setting its sights on “serving the entire globe by the year 2020” with “100 times more accuracy,” China is very focused on its space program. For the time being, though, the plan is to extend BeiDou services to all the 64 BRI countries. Switching to intelligent manufacturing by 2025, China will also be harnessing artificial intelligence, fifth-generation telecom and space communications satellites as core technologies vital to its economic growth in the future.
In recent years, the highest number of AI-related academic papers and more than one-fifth of AI patents are from China as research continues at a rapid pace, so the challenge has only just begun. Ultimately, China wishes to establish an independent alternative system under its sole technology standard and control, and it seems likely that it will be successful.
Source: Asia Times “BRI, BeiDou and the Digital Silk Road”
Note: This is Asia Times’ article I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the article’s views.
In its report “A Key Step Taken in Beidou Satellites System, to Cover the Globe by 2020”, mil.huanqiu.com says that on November 19 China sent to orbits 18th and 19th satellites of Beidou 3 System to form a network that will cover the Belt and Road areas. They are the 42th and 43th satellites of Beidou Constellation.
China will sent 6 MEO, 3 IGSO and 2 GEO satellites to add to Beidou 3 System in 2019 and 2020 so that Beidou 3’s services will cover the whole world by 2020
Comment by Chan Kai Yee on mil.huanqiu.com’s report, full text of which in Chinese can be viewed at http://mil.huanqiu.com/world/2018-11/13592015.html.