Biz / Tech

China 'leading the world' in 5G development

Zhu Shenshen
The latest technology is on show as Asia's biggest telecommunications show, MWC Shanghai 2021, opens online and at the Shanghai New International Expo Center.
Zhu Shenshen

China leads the world in 5G development with huge investment, rich variety, affordable models and wide-range applications, industry officials said at MWC Shanghai 2021, Asia’s biggest telecommunications show, which opened in Shanghai on Tuesday.

The three-day event, at the Shanghai New International Expo Center, is the first “hybrid event” of its kind with both person-to-person and online activities. Around 20,000 visitors are expected to visit while thousands more will log on to online events from over a hundred countries, according to GSMA, the event’s major organizer. 

China’s 5G total investment has surpassed 260 billion yuan (US$40.6 billion), constructing 718,000 5G base stations and gaining 200 million 5G connections. There are 218 5G models available on the market and over 90 percent of new middle and high-end smartphones (costing over 2,000 yuan) sold in China support 5G, according to Liu Liehong, vice minister at the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.

The technology has played its part in China’s fight against the pandemic and in space, mines, hospitals, harbors and factories, Liu said at the event’s opening ceremony.

Investment in 5G helps the global economy overcome the effects of COVID-19 and transition to a post-pandemic economic recovery, GSMA said, with upgrades to 5G adding more than US$600 billion a year to the global economy by 2030.

By the end of January, Shanghai had built 90,000 5G base stations and cultivated 430 5G applications in sectors such as smart manufacturing, health care and education. 5G will help the city boost its digital transformation and build itself as an innovation city, said Wu Qing, vice mayor of Shanghai.

During MWC Shanghai, mobile carriers are showcasing their latest innovations and applications.

China Unicom and Qualcomm are displaying 5G mmWave technologies and applications which may be adopted at the Winter Olympics in 2022. 

They include mixed reality smart ski experiences, 8K video streaming, 360-degree event services and mmWave panoramic experiences, all supported by 5G. In a test, 5G mmWave speed hit 4 Gbps (gigabits per second) onsite, four times the current 5G speed level.

China leading the world in 5G development
Ti Gong

New 5G tech and services may be adopted at the Winter Olympics next year.


The economic benefits from the use of 5G mmWave in China will be approximately US$104 billion by 2034, said Frank Meng, chairman of Qualcomm China, citing research figures.

China Mobile, the world’s biggest carrier by subscriber base, called 5G a “catalyst” of the fourth industrial revolution with a more digitalized and intelligent society, Yang Jie, China Mobile’s chairman, said during an online speech.

China Telecom focuses on integration between 5G, cloud and Internet security, as well as co-construction and sharing in 5G infrastructure construction, Ke Ruiwen, China Telecom’s chairman, said online.

China Telecom has built a 5G network covering all counties nationwide. During the MWC Shanghai event, it signed with Huawei to upgrade its 5G network to make it suitable and efficient for both consumers and business enterprises. 


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