Out in Front: GLAC issues BeiDou market projections

December 8, 2015  - By


Alan Cameron

Alan Cameron

We have grown accustomed to seeing market projections for some GNSS, notably Galileo. European GNSS Agency economists have done a remarkable job analyzing and predicting the global market over the past five years. Business intelligence firms in the U.S. periodically report on the power of GPS driving, or participating in, significant portions of the U.S. economy. Figures from Russia are scant but do occasionally emerge, even if they are difficult to integrate into a meaningful global picture.

Now the Global Navigation Satellite System and Location-based Services Association of China (GLAC) has issued a report asserting some lofty, often staggering, and occasionally surprising statistics and projections.

  • China’s satnav system is helping generate $31.3 billion for the country this year. That benefit is expected to double in five years.
  • 70 percent of China’s population uses smartphones. That’s 980 million people who may be sending location requests at any given time. This constitutes the biggest growth sector found by the GLAC.
  • China’s installed base of navigation devices in private vehicles lags behind the United States, at less than 500,000, or 5 percent of cars, but 20 percent of 1 million commercial vehicles in China use products that access BeiDou technology.

“Sky’s the Limit for BeiDou’s Clients,” crowed China Daily. Meanwhile, halfway round the world in Prague, the Czech Republic, Jing Li of the China Transport Telecommunication & Information Center, reported to a conference of the International Association of Institutes of Navigation that a BeiDou global service will be provided by 2020. The National Differential BeiDou Ground-Based Augmentation System will have 175 reference stations, with more than 1,000 network stations and a space-based augmentation system to boot. So far, the system has hit every benchmark.

Some market projection figures strike one as wildly optimistic, while others have proved true. Some GNSS appear to grow or modernize in fits and starts. But BeiDou appears steadily ascendant.

About the Author: Alan Cameron

Alan Cameron is the former editor-at-large of GPS World magazine.