China responds to Starlink via a satellite startup
China responds to Starlink via a satellite startup

In late April, the day before SpaceX launched its 10th series of Starlink satellites this year, China celebrated the creation of a new state-owned company to manage the Chinese response to Starlink, led by the US-owned company SpaceX. Entrepreneur Elon Musk. .

The startup is called China Satellite Network Group, whose job is to launch LEO satellites and broadcast Internet services around the world.

The company reports to the Asset Control and Management Committee, which controls the Chinese government's interests in state-owned enterprises.

The company does not currently have an official website and the government has not released any information about its organizational structure. However, industry experts recognize the company's strategic importance to Beijing.

Despite its rise, China Satellite Networks Group ranks 26th on the official list of 98 state-owned companies in Beijing, behind three major Chinese telecom companies: China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom.

The company is also the first state-owned company in China with its headquarters in Xiongan, a former rural area where Xi Jinping decided four years ago to turn it into a smart city of the future.

This indicates that the country has officially joined the competition. Although SOEs have worked in this area in the past, the state is currently reviewing the entire plan.

The creation of the China Satellite Network Group is the latest push for Beijing's ambitious attempt to create a global internet connection through satellites orbiting the globe, a technology currently dominated by US companies such as SpaceX.

Before the establishment of the China Satellite Networks Corporation, two major state-owned airlines in China - China Space Science and Technology Corporation (CASC) and China Space Science and Technology Industry Corporation (CASIC) - had their satellite internet plans.

As part of the Hongyun and Nebula projects, CASIC plans to launch 156 and 80 satellites respectively to achieve global coverage, and CASC announced plans to manufacture more than 300 satellites in 2016 as part of the Hongyan project.

In April 2020, China added satellite internet, 5G and artificial intelligence to its list of new infrastructure developments to accelerate development with government support.

Earlier this year, Beijing launched a number of policy measures, including financing, to step up its efforts.

The government released documents for the China Satellite Network Group early last year, and the China National Space Administration has also participated in the project.

Although the Chinese set of satellite networks has yet to launch a satellite, China made an advance payment to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) last September, which indicates that China intends to build two sets of satellites in LEO from 12992.

That number is still a small fraction of the 42,000 planned satellites that the International Telecommunication Union's Starlink service has registered. Analysts say these deposits are only preliminary requirements and cannot always translate into actual launches.

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