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GPS rival Beidou might reduce prices of receiver chips

China: Receiver chips for the Beidou satellite navigation system may become as cheap as those of the GPS next year in China, a step that industry experts said would accelerate Beidou”s commercial viability in the country.

Chip prices, once a barrier to commercialising the Beidou system, may undergo several cuts next year, bringing them close to those of GPS, Zhao Yao-sheng, a satellite navigation expert who consults for Beijing BDStar Navigation Co, told the Global Times.

Beidou, or Compass, is a homegrown global navigation satellite system in China. Similar systems around the world include the EU”s Galileo system, the US” GPS and the Russian Global Navigation Satellite System.

Xinhua News Agency reported in 2011 that over 95 per cent of navigation users in China used GPS chips. But this may change, industry experts said, if Beidou can offer similar precision and its receiver chip prices drop significantly.

Currently, Beidou receiver chips are several times more expensive than GPS chips.

China launched its 16th Beidou geostationary satellite on October 25 and formed the Beidou-2 positioning network, which will begin an era of rapid development for the Beidou system.

The market for Beidou system services in China is expected to exceed 200 billion yuan (USD 32 billion) by 2015 and over 400 billion yuan by 2020, CNS reported.

Source: People’s Daily