What happened: China is expected to spend $256 billion on technology goods and services this year, with 5G to account for 57% of this, according to a report by research firm Forrester. The country has outspent the US in the 5G field by around $24 billion since 2015, with China’s three major telcos unveiling plans to launch commercial 5G networks by next year. The report said that China’s investment in telecommunications would remain robust and it was “best positioned” to win the global race in 5G implementations this year.
Why it’s important: China’s lead in the 5G war appears to come from technology, yet it is primarily driven by cash. For instance, Huawei owned 1,529 “standard-essential” 5G patents, more than any of its rivals both at home and abroad. And the company’s advantage in the design of 5G proceeds from its massive research and development budget, as reported by the Wall Street Journal. The same article said that the US and its allies were setting more barriers to China’s 5G players, especially Huawei, in their 5G network deployments, but that wouldn’t change the underlying truth that technology developed in China would be at the center of the next-generation communications networks.