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China races with its GPS to rival the U.S.

China is about to become a significant player in the highly lucrative satellite navigation market. On Monday, an analyst said that China wants to compete with the U.S. GPS government-owned Global Positioning System.

But as Craig Singleton said, China’s system is not likely to overtake the GPS for now.

Singleton told CNBC that China marked a significant step in its race to increase market share in the highly lucrative sector. He added that the completion of the system also proves China’s status as a world power. It represents a significant declaration that carries wide-range geopolitical implications. It is about its technical independence from the West, said Singleton.

The analyst said that more than 120 countries, including Pakistan and Thailand, are using China’s system to monitor traffic at ports and guide rescue operations. He added that Beijing uses its massive Road Initiative and Belt to convince other countries to use Beidou. China completed The Beidou system in June last year.
Last week, Chinese state media Xinhua said that the value of industries related to Beidou would exceed 1 trillion yuan by 2025.

Bifurcated world

Singleton said that Beidou’s completion had concerns in the West about the security and privacy of Chinese technology. He explained that some people are afraid that Beijing might use its technology to track individuals, like democracy activists or dissidents.

Such concerns showed up after the U.S.-China competition heated up in the technology. Under former President Donald Trump, the U.S. introduced export controls on multiple Chinese tech companies, such as Huawei and Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp.

President Joe Biden kept many restrictions that are related to Trump on Chinese companies. Biden wants to boost investments in U.S. development and research to build tech capabilities to compete with China.
Singleton said that China’s Beidou system doesn’t seem to threaten the dominance of GPS for now.

The analyst said that it doesn’t seem as if Beidou is able to overcome GPS at this point. Still, it’s possible to see a bifurcated system, the bifurcated world between Beidou and GPS in the future.

As we already mentioned, this homegrown Chinese navigation network offers an alternative to the U.S. Air Force GPS, which plans further growth in the domestic satellite market.

Xinhua said that the satellite navigation industry in China has been growing over 20% in value each year to exceed 500 billion yuan in 2020.

 

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