Setting sights on the innovation of the next networking standards, China has been working to secure its lead in 6G technology and investing heavily in the sector.
China’s government has officially begun research and development work for its 6G technology – the next standard which is said to be more than 10 times faster than 5G. Rolling out an initial blueprint for 6G, Han Xia, the chief engineer of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, recently disclosed that the country attaches high importance to the development of 6G.
As per the statement, China plans to formulate a set of standards for ultrafast 6G, advancing innovation and taking proactive measures to develop supporting technologies.
Wen Ku, secretary-general of the China Communications Standards Association has also mentioned that Chinese companies have started their 6G research already, including Huawei Technologies, Oppo, China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom.
China staking out for 6G patents
China had made next-generation communications technology a top priority under its “Made in China 2025” initiative. Being one of the first countries to deploy a massive 5G system, China is more mature and ahead in technology and industry development – while other countries are still working to implement 5G networks on a broader scale.
And now, Bejing is mobilizing state-run companies and universities on 6G development like State Grid Corporation of China and China Aerospace Science and Technology, University of Electronic Science and Technology of China.
China has the highest number of patent applications in the field of 6G technology, with over 13,000 patents out of 38,000 6G-related patent applications lodged worldwide, according to data from the China Internet Network Information Center. Chinese patents for 6G were mostly related to mobile infrastructure technology.
In a survey of 20,000 patent applications for nine core 6G technologies conducted by Nikkei Asia and the Cyber Creative Institute, China topped the list with 40.3% of 6G patent filings. In the meanwhile, the US and Japan took the next two spots with 35.2% and 9.9%, respectively. This was followed by Europe with 8.9% of overall patents and South Korea with 4.2%.
One of the world’s top suppliers of 5G equipment, the Chinese tech giant Huawei, aims to become a pioneer of 6G wireless technology development. “Huawei’s 6G products will be ready by 2030”, the company’s rotating chairman Xu Zhijun announced recently.
Most of the latest patents from China were filed by Huawei. The company holds the largest number of standard essential patents for 5G technology as well.
“Huawei will define 5.5G and research 6G at the same time in the next few years, and it is a test of the whole industry’s imagination and creativity whether 6G can surpass 5G and 5.5G technologies,” Xu mentioned on Huawei’s online community. The Chinese telecom giant had started investment in 6G research in 2017.
“Huawei is willing to hold discussions with companies and industries that might need 6G technologies to define 6G jointly,” he added.
The company has been facing revenue troubles since US Administration under Donald Trump’s Presidency added Huawei to a trade blacklist in May 2019. It recorded $30 bn in losses in its annual handset revenue, due to the existing trade ban. But, despite the ban, the company’s business performance has exceeded market expectations in the first half of 2021. Huawei’s net profit grew 9.8% YoY (compared to a 9.2% growth last year), despite sales revenues declining by 29% on a yearly basis.