Com­mer­cial space data ser­vices set to take off

China Daily European Weekly - - Business - By LIU YUKUN LI WENFANG Con­tact the writ­ers at li­uyukun @chi­nadaily.com.cn.

Civil aero­space equip­ment com­pany Zhuhai Or­bita Aero­space Sci­ence & Tech­nol­ogy Co Ltd set up a space data trad­ing cen­ter in June, in or­der to tap the grow­ing com­mer­cial ap­pli­ca­tions of space tech­nol­ogy.

The move comes two months af­ter the com­pany, which spe­cial­izes in the pro­duc­tion and sale of in­te­grated cir­cuit de­signs, had its Zhuhai 1 re­mote sens­ing satel­lites de­ployed from a sin­gle-car­rier rocket at the Ji­uquan Satel­lite Launch Cen­ter in Gansu province — open­ing up a ma­jor chan­nel for com­mer­cial space data ser­vices.

Space data, or in­for­ma­tion re­layed from satel­lites, is an emerg­ing field with grow­ing signs of dom­i­nat­ing big data ap­pli­ca­tions — the use of huge sets of data in mul­ti­ple ar­eas.

“The satel­lites have an over­view of all that’s hap­pen­ing on Earth. That can be sig­nif­i­cant for busi­nesses and or­ga­ni­za­tions, to help them with their var­i­ous chal­lenges and needs,” says Duan Yi­long, Zhuhai Or­bita’s board sec­re­tary.

“The Zhuhai 1 satel­lites can pro­vide data ser­vices to sec­tors in­clud­ing agri­cul­ture, ur­ban plan­ning, trans­porta­tion and en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion,” Duan says.

In trans­porta­tion, for ex­am­ple, in­for­ma­tion the com­pany has col­lected shows that a high­way link­ing Zhuhai with Jiang­men and other cities in South China’s Guang­dong province, as well as the Hong Kong and Ma­cao spe­cial ad­min­is­tra­tive re­gions, is more likely to ex­pe­ri­ence heav­ier traf­fic than other ma­jor roads. Sim­i­larly, in agri­cul­ture, space data can be used to mon­i­tor land and other fac­tors in­flu­enc­ing crop growth.

“We are also work­ing with the govern­ment on data mon­i­tor­ing and ex­tend­ing the use of data in other fields,” Duan says.

But the com­pany has also faced sig­nif­i­cant ob­sta­cles, with the lack of pro­fes­sion­als in the area a ma­jor con­cern, Duan adds.

“Skilled work­ers are more will­ing to head to Bei­jing or Shang­hai, where the aero­space in­dus­try is mainly based.

“We are eye­ing more ta­lent to help us cope with rapid de­vel­op­ment, and the sit­u­a­tion has im­proved in the past few years,” says Duan, adding that the com­pany has been of­fer­ing hous­ing com­pen­sa­tion and more fi­nan­cial sup­port to at­tract and re­tain pro­fes­sion­als.

The Zhuhai Na­tional Hi-Tech In­dus­trial De­vel­op­ment Zone, where the com­pany is based, is also work­ing to fos­ter a bet­ter busi­ness en­vi­ron­ment, in­clud­ing in­vest­ments in busi­ness in­cu­ba­tors where star­tups can tap man­age­ment train­ing and other re­sources.

The star­tups can help form an im­por­tant sup­ply chain cov­er­ing space-re­lated tech­nol­ogy and equip­ment man­u­fac­tur­ing, which will ben­e­fit all in­dus­try play­ers by cut­ting com­mu­ni­ca­tion and trans­porta­tion costs, Duan says.

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