Beijing sets up $724m fund for 5G mobile tech efforts

Beijing on Wednesday set up a 5 billion yuan ($724 million) fund to spur development of the fifth-generation or 5G mobile technology industry, its latest effort to gain an edge in the commercialization of 5G tech.

The fund was established jointly by the Beijing Science and Technology Innovation Investment Management Co Ltd, Beijing Yizhuang International Investment and Development Co Ltd and State-owned China Jianyin Investment Ltd. It will focus on investing in leading high-tech firms across the entire 5G industrial chain.

“At present, 5G has become the driving force to boost China’s innovative and high-quality development,” Sui Zhenjiang, vice-mayor of Beijing, said on Wednesday during a 5G industrial development and investment summit held in Yizhuang, in southeastern Beijing.

“Beijing is actively transforming itself as a national scientific and technological innovation center. With advantages in complete telecom infrastructure, abundant talent and strong research and development capabilities, we have the resolve to accelerate the push for making breakthroughs in 5G technologies and build an independent and innovative 5G industrial system,” Sui said.

As of May 24, the three major telecom operators-China Mobile, China Telecom and China Unicom-have established 4,700 5G base stations in Beijing, according to Wang Gang, head of the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Economy and Information Technology.

Wang said by the end of this year, 5G network construction will cover the area within the Fifth Ring Road in the city.

The Beijing municipal government plans to invest at least 30 billion yuan by 2022 to build 5G networks, according to a 5G development plan released in January. In Beijing’s road map for 5G development from 2019 to 2022, the municipal government has set a goal to develop its 5G-related industry to realize an income of 200 billion yuan by 2022.

The city said it hopes that by 2022, Beijing-based scientific research units and enterprises can be a key contributor to global 5G technical standards, accounting for more than 5 percent of all primary and essential international 5G patents.

Huang Jianjun, vice-president of China Jianyin Investment Ltd, said 5G technologies have been deeply integrated with artificial intelligence, big data, the internet of things and other emerging technologies, ushering in a new era of internet of everything and deep interaction between humans and machines.

“The 5G tech will not only improve the way people live and work, but also accelerate China’s social digital transformation as well as build key competence amid the uphill battle in the global industry,” Huang said.

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“There are huge investment opportunities for 5G industries, including materials, chips, main equipment suppliers, base stations, antenna, cloud computing, internet of vehicles and the internet of things,” Huang said. “5G will bring historic opportunities for China’s economic and social development.”

A new 5G research institute has also been established in Yizhuang, Beijing on Wednesday.

According to a new report by Global System for Mobile Communications Association, China is set to become the largest 5G market in the globe, with 460 million 5G users by 2025.

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