China's BeiDou to expand cooperation to Asia

Indo Asian News Service

Beijing, April 1 (IANS) China's home-grown BeiDou Navigation Satellite System (BDS) will expand its cooperation to Thailand and Sri Lanka, and then to the entire Southeast Asia to go global, its operator has said.

Du Li, general manager of Wuhan Optics Valley BeiDou Holding Group Co., said his company will continue to explore models for scientific and technical cooperation on BDS, including the joint construction of base stations, joint technical development and research, personnel training and exchanges, Xinhua news agency reported on Saturday.

Wuhan Optics Valley BeiDou established the first batch of three overseas Continuously Operating Reference Stations (CORS) and its networking for BDS in Chonburi province in Thailand in December 2013.

It is also planning to build a China-Asean science and technology city in Thailand for promoting BDS applications.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) consists of 10 countries, including Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos.

Wuhan Optics Valley BeiDou will cooperate with Sri Lankan authorities to develop at least 10 CORS in the South Asian country for such applications as land surveying and mapping, ocean fishery and disaster warning, Du said.

The establishment of CORS in Thailand and Sri Lanka will extend the BDS coverage at least 3,000 km more towards Southeast Asia and South Asia, Du said.

Wuhan Optics Valley BeiDou is in charge of the operations and services of BDS, a GPS-like global positioning system.

By the end of 2016, BDS already had a constellation of 32 satellites.

"Our priority is to expand BDS from China to the frontline of the Belt and Road Initiative, and Optics Valley BeiDou is a pioneer," Li said.

China-made smartphones, such as Huawei smartphones, will be good platforms for BDS to go overseas as they carry Chinese chips, Li said.