A customer looks at a mobile phone next to a 5G logo at a store in Hangzhou in China

A customer looks at a mobile phone next to a 5G logo at a store in Hangzhou in China. Source: AFP

Is the game back on? China doubles down on 5G future

After battling the novel coronavirus pandemic for months, China has finally managed to contain the outbreak as it announces that no new local infection cases have been recorded for the first time ever.

Part of the reason why the country has been able to achieve this feat is the tactical use of technologies and advanced digital capabilities like 5G networks and artificial intelligence (AI) in healthcare services, location-tracking processes, transportation systems, and research facilities.

China’s technological advances were never undermined. The country has spearheaded the development of digital solutions even in troubled times because officials believe the advances would help stimulate the economy and bolster recovery efforts once the outbreak is contained.

Now, giant technology companies are joining hands in building new 5G technologies infrastructure in a bid to fast-track the development of emerging technologies and revive the digital economy. China is also keen on making sure that it remains the leading 5G pioneer globally.

Is the game back on?

The country has already built 160,000 5G base stations that will expand the network coverage and capacity in over 50 cities.

Moving forward, China’s major telecommunication operators like China Mobile, China Unicom, and China Telecom, are collaborating to build 550,000 5G base stations and have already launched their second installment of 5G purchasing plans.

The country wants to position itself as a world-leading technology hub as it projects 807 million 5G users by 2025.

Shanghai Daily reported that GSMA is expecting local carriers to invest US$184.3 billion in the mobile communications industry over the next 5 years but, this year, US$16.9 million will be channeled to help build robust 5G infrastructure.

Bolstering infrastructure

Aside from the development of fifth-generation network technologies and infrastructure, China has also set its eyes on bolstering its data centers, AI capabilities, and industrial internet.

The efforts are in-line with the central authorities’ call for technology leaders to boost digitization efforts and help the nation’s industry players pick up its pace again after experiencing a halt in their operations.

“We have already felt that the new infrastructure – including cloud computing, big data, and AI – has played a huge role in fighting the novel coronavirus outbreak,” said CEO of Inspur Group, China’s largest server producers, Sun Pishu.

The push for the development of these technologies is also driven by the country’s aim to establish a fully-fledged digital economy and foster technology innovation. “The more digital and intelligent the enterprises are, the faster they resume work,” added the CEO.

A technology expert at the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology said the establishment of new infrastructure will also help lay the foundations for maturing the Internet of Things application, digital transformation initiatives and high-quality digital development.

China shows no sign of slowing down now that it has managed to get back up on its feet following the major disruptions the outbreak has caused. Digital service providers are also on the roll as they engage in bigger collaborative efforts to support the government’s recovery plans.