China eyes greater market share for its GPS rival

Updated: 2012-12-27 17:19


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BEIJING - China's domestically-produced navigation system aims to take 70 to 80 percent of the now GPS-dominated domestic market by 2020, a spokesman for the system said Thursday.

"We hope industries based on the BeiDou Navigation Satellite System will hold 15 to 20 percent of the market share by 2015", BDS spokesman Ran Chengqi, also director of the China Satellite Navigation Office, said at a press conference on the official launch of the system.

Ran announced that the BDS began providing positioning, navigation, timing and short message services to civilian users in China and surrounding areas in the Asia-Pacific region on Thursday.

Ran said the general functionality and performance of the BDS is "comparable" to the GPS system, but cheaper.

He further explained that the BDS open service is currently available and features positioning accuracy of 10 meters, velocity accuracy of 0.2 meter per second and one-way timing accuracy of 50 nanoseconds.

The BDS offers more conveniences for navigation system users with equipment that is compatible with multiple navigation systems, as they will no longer have to rely on a single service, said Ran.

A 2011 report said 95 percent of satellite navigation equipment in China relied on GPS services, while industrial statistics show that the total output of China's navigation service sector will top 120 billion yuan ($19.2 billion) in 2012.

China has invested billions of yuan into the development of the BDS and provisions for its services in the Asia-Pacific region. This investment is lower than that of the system's counterparts, Ran said.

With an eye on the global market in the next ten years, China plans to allocate more than 40 billion yuan for the development of the BDS, a total higher than previous investment, Ran added.

Also on Thursday, the China Satellite Navigation Office issued an Interface Control Document for Open Service Signal B1I in both Chinese and English.

The beta version of the document was released last year, prior to the system's completion, showing the Chinese government's open attitude toward the worldwide application of the BDS, Ran said.

The beta version also attracted enterprises and experts from both home and abroad to develop the system's core techniques and modules, Ran added.

"No satellite will be launched in 2013, but starting from 2014, a batch of satellites will be in space," Ran said, adding that around 40 other satellites are expected to be launched when the global system is established in ten years.

BeiDou is the Chinese name for the seven-star cluster known in English as the Big Dipper.

China launched the first satellite for the BDS in 2000, and a preliminary version of the system has been used in traffic control, weather forecasting and disaster relief work on a trial basis since 2003.