On 27 December, the Chinese satellite navigation system celebrated 5 years of operation and the manufacture of 50 million associated chips.
The Director of the China Satellite Navigation Office has stated that, in the 5 years since its launch on 27 December 2012, the domestically-developed BeiDou Navigation Satellite System has become a vital resource for public and commercial services nationwide.
He added that BeiDou is now used to guide over 4.8 million taxis, buses and trucks - as well as 40,000 fishing vessels. It is also helping authorities respond to emergencies faster - over 10,000 fishermen have been rescued or assisted after using Beidou-enabled devices to send distress signals.
It is apparently also used in everyday services; most shared bikes are connected to the network and ~40% of smartphones can access its services and, in Beijing alone, 1,500 trucks, 33,500 taxis and 21,000 buses have end-user devices that can access real-time positioning and navigation.
The Director observes that Beidou has become a large industry - involving over 450,000 jobs in China in 14,000 domestic companies - comprising 70% of China’s 211 billion yuan (£24.0, €27.0, $32.3 billion) space-based positioning and navigation market.
The constellation currently comprises 29 satellites - the first launched in 2000 and most recent in November. The system began providing positioning, navigation, timing and message services for civilian use in the Asia-Pacific region in December 2012. In 2018, 16 3rd-generation Beidou satellites are scheduled to be launched and, by the end of 2020, 35 satellites should provide worldwide cover, compatible with the other worldwide systems - GPS, GLONASS and Galileo.
China has also announced that it has sold over 50 million domestically-manufactured chips associated with BeiDou over the past 5 years. The chips are claimed to be using 28 nm technology, with the cheapest priced at only 6 yuan (£0.67, €0.75, $0.90) each. None were made 5 years ago, but performance is claimed to be as good as or better than similar products made in other countries.
Details from the links below . .