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5G investment exceeds 400b yuan

By MA SI and TIAN XUEFEI in Harbin | China Daily | Updated: 2022-08-13 08:05

An exhibitor seen at the 2022 World 5G Convention in Harbin, Heilongjiang province. [Provided to China Daily]

Chinese telecom operators have invested more than 400 billion yuan ($59.4 billion) into 5G so far, driving a cumulative economic output of about 8.56 trillion yuan, which highlights the robust role that new network infrastructure plays in buoying economic growth, experts said.

As China ratchets up resources to quicken the rollout of 5G, the wireless technology will further boost information consumption and the industrial upgrade, enabling the nation to better deal with both domestic and external challenges, they added.

Xiang Libin, vice-minister of science and technology, said after more than three years of development, industry-oriented 5G applications have leapt from zero to one and the commercial use of 5G has entered a virtuous circle.

Solid steps have been made in supporting 5G's innovative development and industrial ecology, Xiang said at the 2022 World 5G Convention which concluded in Harbin, Heilongjiang province, this week.

According to data unveiled at the conference, in the past three years, driven by 5G, the average online traffic of mobile users in China has nearly doubled from 7.8 gigabytes to 14.9 GB per month, which has supported the application of remote work, online education, digital life, scientific research as well as epidemic prevention and control amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lyu Tingjie, executive vice-chairman of the Beijing-based industry association China Information Economics Society, said 5G has triggered a revolution from consumer internet applications like e-commerce to business-oriented applications like industrial internet.

As China accelerates steps to build its 5G network, the wireless technology will inject new vitality into more sectors by helping them boost efficiency and reduce costs, which will fuel China's high-quality economic development, Lyu said.

China has more than 1.85 million 5G base stations as of June, already the world's largest network. The number is expected to hit 3.64 million by the end of 2025, as the nation aims to have 26 5G base stations for every 10,000 people by then, according to a five-year plan unveiled earlier by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.

Wang Zhiqin, deputy head of the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology, said China's investment in its 5G network is expected to hit 1.2 trillion yuan by 2025, which will drive more than 3.5 trillion yuan of investment in the upstream and downstream industrial chain and other related sectors by then.

Zhang Yunming, vice-minister of industry and information technology, said China has entered a crucial period of 5G commercialization with the wireless technology being applied to 40 of the 97 major economic categories, with large-scale applications already expanding into mines and ports.

Yang Jie, chairman of China Mobile, the world's largest telecom operator by mobile subscribers, said the company will leverage 5G to promote deeper integration of digital and real economies by replicating successful 5G industrial applications from one to many.

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