Beidou system poised to spread wings

Updated: 2014-10-24 07:22


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China's Beidou navigation satellite system, whose positioning accuracy will reach 2.5 meters by 2020, will soon provide services to more countries.

The National Administration of Surveying, Mapping and Geoinformation said China will cooperate with several countries, including Mexico, Israel and Sweden, to improve establishment of the Beidou system and geoinformation database.

International cooperation and establishing monitoring stations in foreign countries are essential for improving the accuracy of the system, said Li Pengde, the administration's deputy director.

"The system now covers the Asia-Pacific region, but by 2020 it will cover the whole world," Li said at the third United Nations global geo-spatial information management forum, being held in Beijing from Wednesday to Friday.

Miao Qianjun, executive vice-president of the Global Navigation Satellite System and Location-Based Service Association of China, said the country will cooperate with Singapore, Malaysia and other Asian countries to promote the Beidou system.

"This year, China has worked with some Southeast Asian countries to promote the system, including Thailand, Pakistan and Laos," Miao said. "Next year will be essential for expanding the system in the Asia-Pacific region."

In July, China and Russia signed a memorandum of understanding on the joint application of the Beidou Navigation Satellite System and Russia's Glonass system, allowing the two nations to establish navigation system monitoring stations in each country from this year.

"Beidou system equipment has been sold to more than 30 countries," said a deputy director of the Navigation Satellite System and Location-Based Service Association of China, who asked not to be named.

"In 2013, the output value of the satellite navigation industry reached 104 billion yuan ($17 billion) in China, while only one-tenth came from the domestically made system," the industry insider said, adding that Beidou occupies only 1 percent of the Asia-Pacific market.

"Compared with some other systems, Beidou hasn't been put into commercial use for a long time," he said. "It needs time to develop and promote itself."

Beidou, the United States' GPS, the European Union's Galileo and Russia's Glonass are the navigation system suppliers authorized by the UN.

The Beidou system has been installed in more than 200 car models in China and its chips have been embedded in 40 million smartphones.

The system now has 16 satellites and plans to establish a global coverage network through 36 geostationary orbit and non-geostationary orbit satellites by 2020.