Technology May 18

China hits ‘fast forward’ on 5G

More than 200,000 high-speed network base stations now in use by 128 million customers, ministry claims

by Nadeem Xu
China says it’s hit ‘fast forward’ on 5G
5G is hoped to lead to the development of new industries, including high-speed TV channels. 

(ATF) China said it has more 5G users than anywhere in the world and that is has pressed the “fast-forward” button on rollout of the high-speed network.

The claim comes as the nation pins it hopes of nurturing a tech-driven future on the high-speed network.

China has installed more than 200,000 5G base stations, pressing the "fast-forward" button on the construction of Internet infrastructure, said Chen Zhaoxiong, vice minister of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT).

It also has 128 million 5G users, ranking first in the world, Chen said in a briefing on Sunday.

The burgeoning digital economy has now become a new growth driver, accounting for more than one-third of China’s gross domestic product, the official explained.

China Mobile, one of the country's four largest telecom operators, said it will have more than 300,000 5G base stations by the end of this year. China Unicom, another of the big four, said it will work with China Telecom to finish construction on 250,000 5G base stations across the country by the end of this year.

READ MORE: Over 30 firms join alliance calling for 'open' 5G systems

READ MORE: China to boost high-speed TV

China has placed huge emphasis on the development of its technology sector as it rebuilds an economy that was ravaged by the coronavirus lockdown. The damage was so deep that China announced the first quarterly contraction in generations during the three months through March. 

Industrial planners, meeting this week in Beijing for the delayed gathering of the Communist Party’s leadership, are targeting high-speed networking in order to boost connectivity-based services such as the Internet of Things, driverless cars and artificial intelligence-backed smart cities.

That’s been accompanied by a drive towards technological self-sufficiency as the US puts ever-greater sanctions of companies such as Huawei, which is leading the development of 5G networking.