BeiDou navigates to global stage

Sarah Carter
Sarah Carter

13 March 2017


As part of helping Chinese companies to globalise their equipment and homegrown technologies through the maritime belt initiative, the BeiDou Navigation Satellite System (BDS), a Chinese satellite navigation system, has been introduced to the global stage. "The globalisation era for BeiDou is coming," said Miao Qianjun, secretary-general of the Global Navigation Satellite System and Location-based Services Association of China (GLAC). The GLAC was founded in 1995 to promote the commercial application of BeiDou technologies. According to a release by Chinese Academy of Sciences, the GPS-like navigation system, a product of the Chinese National Space Administration, and managed by the China Satellite Navigation Office, is to accelerate its expansion into economies along the Belt and Road Initiative as China plans to launch six to eight BeiDou satellites this year. BeiDou has made significant progress in terms of accuracy of location detection. The go-global strategy is part of China's broad plan to build a BeiDou navigation system with a constellation of 35 satellites by 2020. In comparison, GPS consists of 24 satellites. "China is supporting BeiDou's exports roughly the same way it supports exports of high-speed railway products and technologies. BeiDou will become another high-tech name card for China," Miao said. Humiliated by the GPS signal blackout during the Taiwan Strait Crisis in 1995-96, which resulted in China losing track of some of its satellites, China fast-tracked the development of its own navigational satellite system, BeiDou (Chinese word for the Big Dipper)