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China unveils plans for rival to GPS satellite system

The Chinese government is to add 30 satellites to its Beidou navigation system by 2020 and has begun promoting its use in the Arab world in a bid to extend its scope globally.

Beidou is China’s answer to GPS, the Global Positioning System of satellites, which is run by the United States military. The other competitors in satellite navigation are Galileo, a project of the European Union and GLONASS, its Russian equivalent.

Beidou is undergoing significant expansion, with six to eight third-generation satellites planned before the end of this year, Ran Chengqi, the director of China’s Satellite Navigation Office, has said, according to two Chinese state-run media sources.

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