Home Current Affairs Science & Tech BeiDou • Chinese GPS

BeiDou • Chinese GPS

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BeiDou, Chinese Global Positioning Service Official Logo
BeiDou, Chinese Global Positioning Service Official Logo


  • China began building the BEIDOU network to avoid relying on GPS (GPS is not a general term, though we use it generally. It is the US system of satellites that provides data about global positions to users
  • First satellite for the BEIDOU navigation system was launched in the year 2000, assembling an initial network of four satellites in trial use for traffic control, weather forecasting and disaster relief since 2003.
  • China started launching new satellites for the system in 2007, and now has 16 in operation.


  • China has launched commercial and public services across the Asia-Pacific region from its BEIDOU satellite network.
  • The state-run BEIDOU Navigation Satellite System (BDS) would initially provide positioning, navigation, timing and short-message services in China and the Asia-Pacific region.
  • The BEIDOU, or Compass, system was compatible with other global positioning systems.
  • The BEIDOU system started providing services to civilians in the region and is expected to provide global coverage by 2020.
  • The system could provide positioning accuracy of 10 metres, velocity accuracy of 0.2 metres per second and one-way timing accuracy of 50 nanoseconds.
  • The BEIDOU system comprises 16 navigation satellites and four experimental satellites.
  • Signals from BEIDOU can be received in countries such as Australia.
  • The BEIDOU network is designed to provide both open and authorized global navigation services worldwide by 2020 and will eventually use 35 satellites.

Market Share

  • It is hoped that industries based on the BEIDOU Navigation Satellite System will hold 15 to 20 per cent of the market share by 2015.
  • China’s expected market for navigation services  this year would be worth some 120 billion yuan (19.2 billion dollars).
  • As BEIDOU matures it will erode GPS’s current 95 per cent market share in China.


  • Having a satellite navigation system is of great strategic significance.
  • China has a large market, where the BEIDOU system can benefit both the military and civilians.
  • GPS is freely available, highly accessed and is well-known and trusted by the world at large. It has brand recognition and has successfully fought off other challenges.

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Q: What is BEIDOU? Describe its various features and its significance?


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