China makes big investments in 5G

It has been two years since China approved the rollout of 5G commercial services. While boosting consumption, 5G has also proved its significance in stabilizing investments and bolstering industrial chains.

China has built 961,000 5G base stations, of which 190,000 were built in the first half of this year. The number of 5G terminal connections in China has reached 365 million, and shipments of 5G phones in China have surged to 128 million units.

Visitors watch exhibits displayed at the 5G telecommunication service section of the China International Fair for Trade in Services in Beijing, capital of China, on Sept. 5, 2020. (Xinhua/Zhang Chenlin)

The country has made marked achievements in applying 5G in new infrastructure. Statistics showed that in the first five months of the year, 5G investments in the high-tech manufacturing sector increased by 47.7 percent year on year.

Currently, the China Mobile branch in the city of Hangzhou, east China’s Zhejiang province, a major 5G service provider in China, is installing a 5G network in the Hangzhou Olympic Sports Center, the venue of the Hangzhou 2022 Asian Games.

According to Hu Zhen, deputy director of the service office of China Mobile Hangzhou for the 2022 Asian Games, 65 percent of the cable installation work has been completed, and once it is connected with the 5G network, the center, which is able to hold 80,000 people, will give people an amazing 5G experience.

Zhou Chengyang, general manager of the construction department of China Mobile, said that more than 1,000 5G base stations will be built under the supporting project, with the total direct investment surpassing 250 million yuan. It is estimated that 5G-backed projects, including an intelligent navigation system and a smart voice interaction system, will attract a total investment of more than 200 million yuan.

According to statistics from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT), there are more than 10,000 cases of 5G applications in China, in areas such as smart factories, power grids, mining, transportation, healthcare, and education.

At a smart production base of server manufacturer Inspur, 5G has been widely used in more than 10 links of production, which has not only protected production data, but also improved operating efficiency.

“Our production capacity increased by 12 percent, and the pass rate was up by 6 percent and efficiency of quality inspection by 56 percent, compared with before the 5G era,” said Luo Xiwang, head of a workshop at the production base.

Luo, who has been a worker at the production base for the last 11 years, said he witnessed how its manufacturing gradually became intelligent. “We are now working with international partners on the integration of 5G into the whole production chain so as to improve the level of intelligence of our factory,” he said.

Peng Jian, an official with the China Center for Information Industry Development, said that 5G integration in the vertical industries presents huge market potential and investment opportunities, as the industries are set to upgrade their existing information infrastructure and invest greatly in various 5G applications.

“It is estimated that Chinese enterprises will invest more than 2 trillion yuan in 5G-powered new infrastructure such as cloud computing and data centers,” said Wei Liurong, deputy chief engineer with the Policy and Economics Research Institute under the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology (CAICT).