“[China & satellite internet] is obviously lagging behind in terms of scale and model. We must attach great importance to this and deploy the Chinese version of the ‘Starlink’ satellite Internet as soon as possible”, while also stressing the importance of satellite internet in the so-called “6G Era”.
A statement from Zhang does not lead to any direct action, it shows high-level support, interest, and a certain degree of urgency, for an accelerated response to Starlink (and LEO broadband more generally). We expect to see more batches of LEO broadband satellites launched by China over the coming year or two, with 2022 having already seen 6 satellites
launched by Galaxy Space with a total throughput of 240 Gbps.
Separately, FireEye Positioning (火眼位置) announced an A+ round of funding
of some “tens of millions of RMB”, with funding expected to go towards R&D in the field of high-precision positioning technology. The company launched the Tianshu-1 in October 2021 in cooperation with Spacety, with the LEO satellite aiming to provide enhanced navigation services for autonomous driving, precision agriculture, and other verticals.
Further up the supply chain, the Chengdu Heavy Industry Fund established an “High-End Aero/Space Equipment Industry Sub-Fund
”. The Southwestern Chinese city and its relative neighbor Chongqing combine to form a center for electronic and communications engineering, with the two cities having seen significant investment from both major SOEs (CETC, CASC/CAST, and most recently China SatNet) and commercial companies (Commsat, OneSpace). The fund has a reported ¥3 billion to invest in innovative companies.