China to push 5G commercialisation even as Huawei faces US-led resistance in West

Meng Jing
China to push 5G commercialisation even as Huawei faces US-led resistance in West

China plans to accelerate commercialisation of 5G as development of the advanced wireless technology enters a “final sprint” phase, with winners poised to achieve accelerated economic development, according to a senior Chinese government official.

Wang Xinzhe, chief economist at China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT), said the agency has set a number of priorities to speed up the commercialisation of 5G as the next generation wireless technology enters what he called the “final sprint”.

“The ministry will speed up commercialisation of 5G, building a telecommunications infrastructure that has high speed and with full coverage, as well as growing a stronger and bigger 5G industrial chain,” Wang said at the China Development Forum in Beijing on Saturday, without disclosing a detailed timetable for the construction of 5G mobile networks.

China, the US, Japan and South Korea are the countries competing in the global race to launch commercial 5G mobile services, which are expected to drive the introduction of more industrial applications over the internet to support economic development and improve people’s livelihoods.

China’s tech moguls bet on 5G to help lift economy amid increased security scrutiny in the West

The five priorities singled out by the ministry are mainly designed to address the two challenges China is facing in 5G development: further development of the 5G industry and deeper integration of application for the technology, according to Wang.

The ministry will push for integration of the technology with the real economy and set up pilot projects in key companies and industries to lead overall development of the sector. The industrial internet, smart transport, intelligent manufacturing, smart medical care and digital agriculture are among the areas prioritised by the ministry.

Wang said the MIIT will also boost its capability to cope with the rising security challenges brought about by 5G and build an open ecosystem for international collaboration.

Speaking at the same forum, Yang Yuanqing, chairman and chief executive of computer maker Lenovo Group, said 5G was a catalyst to make every industry become “smarter”, delivering more benefit to enterprises than consumers.

US conducting 5G security review amid hacking, Huawei concerns

Beijing regards advanced 5G mobile networks – which offer faster data rates, reduced latency, energy savings, cost reductions, higher system capacity and massive device connectivity – as its chance to get out in front for the first time in telecoms innovation, which in turn will fuel increased economic activity.

That ambition, however, has set up a competitive technology clash with the US, which has raised concerns about the security of 5G technology provided by Huawei Technologies, the Chinese telecoms equipment supplier that is considered a leader in the emerging field. The US has been putting pressure on European countries to ban the use of Huawei equipment, citing national security concerns that the company has strenuously and repeatedly denied.

According to the latest report from Forrester Research, China is best positioned to win the emerging global race to roll out 5G mobile infrastructure. About 57 per cent of China’s estimated technology spending of US$256 billion in 2019 will be allocated to telecoms, according to Forrester Research.

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