By Wang Qian in Wuhan
BEIJING, May 18 (Xinhuanet) -- China is expected to invest 7 billion yuan ($1.13 billion) to support the development of industries related to the country's Beidou satellite navigation system before 2015, an industry insider said.
"Industries related to the Beidou system are entering a booming development stage," Yang Qiangwen, a senior engineer at the China Satellite Navigation Office, said at the Fourth China Satellite Navigation Conference on Thursday in Wuhan.
According to the office's figures, the central government has already invested around 3.5 billion yuan to boost industries related to the Beidou system.
And as the support from the central government continues, Yang said that the Beidou system will bring new economic growth to the country.
Industry experts estimated that the Beidou system may unleash a potential market worth 225 billion yuan, which may be the reason for the country's surging investments in the project.
The navigation system is already being used in many areas across China.
The Ministry of Transport required all tour coaches, long-distance buses and vehicles carrying dangerous goods in nine provinces, or around 80,000 vehicles, to install the Beidou system before June, or the vehicles' permits may not be approved.
Li Jing, a researcher with the China Satellite Navigation Office, said the ministry will launch an offshore rescue program using the Beidou service in 2014.
Beidou's applications are expanding in many areas, including public security, the fishery industry, disaster-relief operations, tourism and forestry, said Ran Chengqi, spokesman for the China Satellite Navigation Office.
After the Ya'an earthquake on April 20, Beidou played an important role in navigation and communication tasks during disaster-relief operations, Ran added.
The system has also been used overseas: The Ministry of Public Security successfully tracked rogue militia leader Naw Kham, who killed 13 Chinese sailors on the Mekong River in 2011, using the Beidou system. He was eventually captured in Laos and executed in February in Kunming, Yunnan province.
The successful application of the system and the country's strong support for the project are boosting the confidence of navigation companies and leading them to adopt Beidou, experts said.
Ran added that automotive navigation equipment is now entering mass production and will gradually be launched into the consumer market.
Wei Baoguo, a researcher with the China Electronics Technology Group Corp, said that his company is designing a rescue system based on Beidou to be used at scenic spots, which will soon be promoted nationwide.
Sun Jiadong, a member of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, said that satellite navigation is changing and reshaping traditional industries, triggering a huge market potential.
(Source: China Daily)