Workers setting up a 5G base station at the border near the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge. Photo: China Mobile

China will build more than 500,000 5G base stations this year and 198,000 have already been built as of the end of March, according to the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT).

At the end of last year, more than 20 million people connected to the country’s 5G network with their mobile devices, said Wen Ku, head of the Department of Information and Communications Development of the MIIT.

The MIIT granted network access licenses to 96 kinds of 5G phones as of Wednesday, compared with 39 at the end of last year, Wen said. The prices of 5G phones have decreased, with many priced at about 2,000 yuan (US$282.47) each, he said.

China will increase the pace of building its 5G infrastructure and enhance cooperation between the upstream and downstream industry players, Wen said. The country will also accelerate the transition of its non-standalone mode facilities, which still have to rely on the 4G network, to standalone mode facilities, he added.

Wen said the MIIT will continue to encourage the launch of 5G applications for educational, medical, business and entertainment uses. He said 5G applications such as sport broadcasting, online games, e-commerce and virtual reality would help the country boost its domestic consumption.

5G online summit

Industry players in China’s information and communications technology sector should join hands to develop 5G applications, Peng Song, President of Huawei Technologies’ Carrier BG Marketing and Solution Sales Dept, said Thursday in an online summit called “5G+, Better World.”

The global digital transformation will accelerate this year, meaning both opportunities and challenges for telecom operators and industries, Peng said.

“To address these opportunities and challenges, operators must aim for more resilient, automated and intelligent target networks, and their annual network plans and activities should be geared towards achieving these goals,” he said.

During the summit, Huawei released a white paper – Technology against Pandemic: Insights and Practice on Telecom Networks – which talks about the role of global networks in the anti-pandemic battle.

Fast charging module

On Thursday, Huawei released two versions of the Huawei HiCharger DC fast charging modules for vehicles, which include the domestic version 30kW and the national network 20kW.

The module can achieve 300-1000V full-range constant power output and meet the evolution trend of high-voltage fast charging for vehicles in the future, according to Huawei.

Market liquidity

The People’s Bank of China (PBC), the country’s central bank, on Friday launched a one-year targeted medium-term loan facility (TMLF) operation of 56.1 billion yuan (US$7.9 billion) at an interest rate of 2.95%, 20 basis points lower than the previous TMLF, which came due Friday.

The TMLF tool was introduced in December 2018 to further strengthen financial support for the real economy, especially for small and micro enterprises, private enterprises and other key areas.

Large commercial banks, joint-stock banks and major city commercial banks that lend heavily to the real economy and meet macro prudent requirements can apply for the TMLF.

However, the TMLF facility may be no longer attractive to commercial banks as they have other funding sources, including relending and rediscounting channels.

Financial institutions’ demand for TMLF will remain small in the short term as the current market interest rate is significantly lower than the operating interest rates of MLF and TMLF, said Zhang Xu, chief fixed-income analyst of Everbright Securities.

Company news

Huawei Technologies has remained the No 1 seller of tablets in China with a market share of more than 50% in the country in 2020, He Gang, president of Huawei Technologies’ consumer mobile phone product line, said Thursday at the nova 7 series of new products online conference.

Ren Zhengfei, the founder and president of Huawei, told The Wall Street Journal that sales of the company’s tablets and notebooks had increased 5-6 times during the period of the Covid-19 outbreak. Ren said these products have installed Huawei Mobile Services, the company’s app store.

Ping An Insurance, a Hong Kong-listed company, said its net profit decreased 42.7% to 26.06 billion yuan in the first quarter this year from a year ago, mainly due to a drop in investment income. Operating profit rose 5.3% to 35.91 billion yuan for the period.

The story was written by Xu Jiangshan and first published at ATimesCN.com. It was translated into English by Nadeem Xu.

Asia Times Financial is now live. Linking accurate news, insightful analysis and local knowledge with the ATF China Bond 50 Index, the world's first benchmark cross sector Chinese Bond Indices. Read ATF now.