China leads the way on global standards for 5G and beyond

Huawei moves front and center as Beijing drafts strategy on rule-setting

According to Nikkei Asian Review, China has become a central player in writing international rules for emerging technologies, particularly fifth-generation wireless, as part of a national effort to shape the playing field in its favor.

The country is reportedly drafting a medium-term strategy dubbed “China Standards 2035,” complementing the “Made in China 2025” industrial modernization plan under which it has cultivated such fields as 5G and artificial intelligence. But as distrust toward Beijing mounts, its growing dominance of the standards discussion risks becoming another source of friction.

China submitted 830 technical documents related to wired communications specifications to the International Telecommunication Union last year, the most of any country and more than the next three — South Korea, the U.S. and Japan — combined, according to an industry group. Such documents serve as a basis for deliberation on new standards, and more papers mean more of a voice

China is the fifth-largest contributor to the ITU’s budget as well. The organization’s Chinese leader, Secretary-General Zhao Houlin, was previously involved in developing telecom standards for the Chinese government and has pledged to step up cooperation with Beijing’s Belt and Road infrastructure initiative.