The next generation of mobile connectivity, 5G, is more than just blazing internet speeds and unprecedented network bandwidth.
Experts have long speculated the transformative nature of the technology and the business potential it might bring.
In China, researchers are forecasting that 5G will kick start a new growth period in the country’s tech industry, as other sectors are taking on the challenge of adopting advanced applications for the new generation mobile network.
According to the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology (CAICT), China’s tech industry is expected to grow by close to half a trillion (US$479 billion) in the next five years, with the help of 5G technology.
In addition to that, 5G is also expected to boost the digitalization process of the country’s various industries, yielding US$1.5 trillion in growth within the same period.
The latest growth estimate that was announced at the Global Mobile Internet Conference held in Guangzhou recently comes on the heel of increased spending by the Chinese government in 5G development, in its bid to take the lead in the global 5G race.
According to a recent forecast, China’s 5G network investments in the next four years is set to surpass that of North America’s, as it looks to migrate away from the 4G mobile network rapidly.
CAICT also predicts that the country will be spending about US$130.8 billion to US$218 billion between 2015 and 2020.
5G to help transform China’s economy
With lightning-fast connections that could reach up to 10 Gbps, as well as being robust and reliable, 5G network is a massive upgrade from its predecessor, the 4G network.
It will be a crucial enabler of other emerging technologies – something which China aims to tap as it seeks to transform its economy from one based on manufacturing to technology.
Further, 5G is also expected to transform the country’s healthcare sector by enabling remote diagnosis and surgery, according to CAICT.
Last March, China conducted its first remote surgery using robotic technology, with the support of 5G connectivity, when a neurosurgeon in Beijing operated on a patient 3000 kilometers away in Sanya City in Hainan.
Beyond that, China already leads the world in the number of 5G patents at the moment and is currently piloting many 5G projects in over a dozen cities.
It is expected to have 460 million 5G connections by the end of 2025, accounting for about 28 percent of its overall mobile connections.
While commercial 5G mobiles services are already available in South Korea, Australia and certain parts of Europe, China’s massive market size alone would be sufficient to beat and negate any first-mover advantages.
With a robust framework and strategic policies spearheaded by the Chinese government, the country has made significant headway in 5G technology already, and CAICT is expecting 5G services to be widely available within the next two years.