Rollout of 5G will trigger major changes in China's economy
Updated 22:33, 04-Nov-2019

Editor's note: The following article is taken from the Chinese-language "Commentaries on International Affairs." The article reflects the author's opinions, and not necessarily the views of CGTN.

China officially launched 5G services on Thursday. Over the past few decades, China has gone from being a latecomer to an industry pioneer in mobile telecommunications. And now, it's a leader when it comes to the number of 5G patents – at the end of last year it had the world's largest number of applications – and setting the standards for 5G networks.

The commercialization of 5G technology will bring more convenience to the daily lives of Chinese people thanks to its low latency and high speed. It will take users just a few seconds to download a high-definition movie. Gamers will be able to enjoy smooth and vibrant augmented and virtual reality worlds. Students will have better access to distance education. And patients and their doctors can take full advantage of the benefits of telemedicine.

According to an estimate by the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology (CAICT), consumption in China driven by the commercialization of 5G will exceed 8 trillion yuan (more than 1 trillion U.S. dollars) between 2020 and 2025. Areas of growth will include gaming, virtual reality, augmented reality, and cloud services. And there will be a boom in sales of 5G handsets and intelligent terminals. The industry analyst CCS Insight predicts that there will be 1 billion 5G users worldwide by 2023, and more than half of them will be in China.

Perhaps the biggest implication of the rollout of 5G technology is the role it will play in reshaping China's economy. The massive improvement in network capacity will facilitate higher-quality development in sectors including manufacturing, agriculture, transportation, education, and healthcare, to name just a few. CAICT predicts that 5G technology will help drive growth worth 15.2 trillion yuan (2.1 trillion U.S. dollars) in China's digital economy from 2020 to 2025.

The benefits of 5G technology won't be limited to China, which is always open to international cooperation in this field. Foreign companies, including Intel, Nokia, and Qualcomm, are actively participating in China's 5G development. And 5G-related items, such as 5G core components, were added in June to the catalog of industries where the government is actively encouraging foreign investment.

China has always stressed that it is willing to share its latest scientific research findings with partners around the world, and this includes 5G technology. When it comes to setting international 5G standards and the construction of 5G networks in other countries, companies from China are playing a major role. They also account for around 30 percent of all the patents that are essential to the global standards for 5G. China's tech giant Huawei alone has signed contracts with more than 30 international operators on 5G cooperation, having already shipped more than 40,000 5G base stations around the world. Another leading local tech firm, ZTE, is also working with dozens of telecommunication operators overseas on the rollout of 5G networks.

China is gearing up for the 5G era, which will trigger a profound transformation of its economy and society. This new communications revolution will spout new growth in the global economy, at a time when it needs it the most.

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