Editor's note: "Tech Please!" takes a brief look at all things science and technology in China, revealing trends you won't hear about anywhere else, from cutting-edge developments to the bizarre and whimsical in the world's most exciting tech market.
The year 2023 was one of groundbreaking achievements, as highlighted in Chinese President Xi Jinping's New Year address. In this episode, we'll go through the key moments that defined China's tech landscape in 2023 and what to expect going forward.
First up, let's look to the skies.
Our first highlight goes to China's domestically produced C919 jetliner, which made its commercial debut in May 2023. Positioned as a competitor to other medium-range passenger jets, it's already making waves with significant orders from leading airlines including China Eastern Airlines, China Southern Airlines, China Airlines and Hainan Airlines. China Eastern Airlines just carried out a ferry flight on January 2 for the fourth one it received by the end of last year.
The maker, Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China, said they've received orders of over 1,200 planes, which will be delivered in the coming years.
Moving further up, quite literally, we reach the China Space Station, now a fully operational marvel. Shenzhou crews are rotating in numerical order, conducting scientific experiments and safeguarding our outpost in orbit.
With upcoming missions this year, including the Tianzhou cargo spacecraft and Shenzhou-18 and Shenzhou-19 manned missions, the space station remains at the forefront of space exploration.
Beyond Earth's orbit, China's deep-space missions are also making headlines. Chang'e lunar exploration, Zhurong Mars probe, and the Xihe solar probing satellite signify China's commitment to cosmic exploration.
China's next lunar probe Chang'e-6 is also in the cards. It is expected to retrieve samples from the far side of the moon, the first such samples from the area.
The next Mars sample-return mission is planned for 2030 and a Xihe-2 solar probe satellite is scheduled for 2026.
Also up there are the satellites that make up the BeiDou Navigation Satellite System, or BDS. Just months ago, the International Civil Aviation Organization recognized it as a universally accepted navigation system for global civil aviation. The constellation marked its fifth anniversary of serving the globe on December 27, 2023. As more satellites are put into the network, more people benefit from the BDS.
Diving from space, now let's splash down in the ocean, where the Adora Magic City awaits. It is China's first homegrown large cruise ship and the world's first 5G-enabled cruise ship. With its maiden voyage at the beginning of the year, it's already creating waves in the maritime world.
As we go further, we also dive deep. The China developed manned submersible Fendouzhe (Striver) has touched the deepest known point of the Earth's seabed, the Challenger Deep. It participated in the world's first live-streamed Mariana Trench deep dive in 2020. In March last year, it returned from its first international scientific mission in Oceania, reaching the deepest point of the Diamantina Trench.
Besides these engineering marvels, consumer electronics products from China are also leaving their mark.
Huawei's Mate 60 series phones with advanced logic and graphic cores were launched last year. The largest electric vehicle maker BYD sold more than 3 million new energy vehicles in 2023, nearly twice as that of Tesla. And thanks to the blooming EV industry, China's lithium battery companies are also reporting positive results, now ranking the first in terms of global market share. China is also leading the green energy sector with its solar, wind and hydropower techs.
These remarkable achievements are not just technological milestones, but also a testament to the collective brilliance and dedication of Chinese engineers.
These triumphs illuminate the path forward, encouraging us to dream bigger, reach higher and dive deeper into the endless possibilities that innovation can unlock.