First, a short background on Xu Ming and Galaxy Space. While most of the founders of China’s leading commercial space companies come from the traditional space sector, Xu Ming used to be an early employee at mobile app and security company Cheetah Mobile, a company currently trading on the New York Stock Exchange, and who’s valuation at one point exceeded $5B. Around mid-2018, Xu Ming left Cheetah Mobile
and seemingly immediately thereafter, Galaxy Space appeared on the scene. The company has since pivoted from what was originally very clearly a satellite constellation business plan, to what is now a sort of satellite manufacturer/application development company, with an emphasis on areas such as 5G and IoT.
The opinion piece itself brings up some interesting points. First, Xu Ming points out that LEO constellations and the associated spectrum is by and large a first-come, first-serve market. That is, SpaceX, Amazon, OneWeb, Telesat, and a bunch of other western firms have applied for what is limited spectrum and begun to launch satellites into what is limited orbital space. Paraphrasing Xu here, China should make sure to grab their piece of spectrum and their piece of orbit before it’s too late.
Second, Xu points out that creating a specially-placed company and putting significant emphasis on building out a national broadband constellation in a relatively commercial way would be the first major industrial project undertaken by the Chinese space industry. If China’s space sector has evolved very rapidly, this evolution has indeed primarily been based on science & technology. By building out a space ecosystem that is itself so conducive to commercial usage (i.e. a satellite broadband network), China will inherently be opening up its space sector to some extent (again, paraphrasing here).