5G stations continue to mushroom

Updated: Jun 12, 2024 By Liu Yukun China Daily Print
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Technicians check a 5G station in Tongling, Anhui province. [Photo by Guo Shining/For China Daily]

China leads the world in 5G base stations, users and penetration rates, significantly boosting its digital economy, said experts and officials, who also emphasized the potential of integrating 5G terminals with AI technology for further growth.

Looking ahead, 5G development will require further efforts to innovate technologies and applications in intelligent 5G, 5G broadband, 5G RedCap or reduced capability, and proactive adaptation, they said.

China had built a total of 3.748 million 5G base stations, with more than 26 stations per 10,000 people, by the end of April, said the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology. Over 30,000 5G private networks for industries have been established, it said.

"The continuous evolution and advanced status of new digital infrastructure are crucial for driving the digital and intelligent transformation and upgrade of the economy and society, leading to high-quality development," said Su Shaolin, head of the Beijing Communications Administration.

The China Academy of Information and Communications Technology (CAICT) estimated that over the past five years, 5G commercialization in China has directly generated approximately 5.6 trillion yuan ($772 billion) in economic output and indirectly driven around 14 trillion yuan in output, significantly contributing to high-quality economic and social development.

Su said that the added value of Beijing's digital economy reached 1.87 trillion yuan last year, accounting for 42.9 percent of the city's GDP and playing a significant role in driving overall economic development.

Hu Jianbo, deputy head of the CAICT, said that 5G has boosted the development of various industries. Hu highlighted that 5G has penetrated 74 of the 97 major sectors of the national economy, with an industry penetration rate exceeding 76 percent.

He also mentioned that Chinese companies have maintained a leading position in the global 5G base station equipment market for five consecutive years, with a global market share of 55 percent and sales in over 75 countries and regions. China's shipments of 5G phones accounted for 50 percent of the global total by April.

Wu Hequan, an academician at the Chinese Academy of Engineering, emphasized the importance of innovation in the future development of 5G, with focused efforts on intelligent 5G, 5G broadband, 5G RedCap or reduced capability, and proactive adaptation.

Wu pointed to the significant potential in integrating 5G terminals with AI technology. The AI integration of 5G terminals, including smartphones, personal computers, virtual reality devices and industrial modules, is progressing toward embedding large models.

One example is Apple's partnership with OpenAI's ChatGPT, announced this week, to boost its voice assistance and operating system.

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