- China Telecom announced that it is investing 3 billion yuan — about $434 million US — to create China Telecom Quantum Information Technology Group.
- China is investing heavily in quantum communication technology, which could one day allow highly secure communications.
- The nation is considered a global leader in quantum communication technology resarch.
China Telecom announced that it is investing 3 billion yuan — about $434 million US — to create China Telecom Quantum Information Technology Group, according to Reuters and a company statement.
According to The Quantum Insider’s Intelligence Platform and quantum market reports, China has invested between $5 and $15 billion (US) as part of the nation’s five-year plan. These numbers are highly disputed and the broad range is driven by limited government disclosure.
China Telecom, which trades on the Hong Kong exchange (0728.HK) , announced that the new entity will be responsible for developing quantum technology and promoting quantum throughout the country, Reuters reported. The group will be based in the eastern Chinese province of Anhui.
Telecom companies, like China Telecom, are interested in developing quantum technology for several reasons. Quantum technology offers advanced encryption methods that can enhance data security, protecting sensitive information from cyber threats. Quantum communication enables secure transmission by leveraging the principles of quantum mechanics, ensuring that data cannot be intercepted or tampered with during transmission. Additionally, quantum technology could greatly improve network efficiency, enabling faster data transfer and increasing bandwidth capacity.
“[This] is a practical action to thoroughly study and implement the spirit of General Secretary Xi Jinping’s important instructions on the development of quantum technology,” China Telecom said in its statement, as reported by Reuters.
The move builds not just on China’s increasing global leadership in quantum communication, but also in the company’s own research prowess in quantum. In. 2021, the company reported that certain customers with a special SIM card would be able to make quantum encrypted phone calls.
China Telecom now joins China Mobile, which as nearly a billion subscribers, in exploring the use of quantum technologies, reports Reuters. China Mobile signed a deal in December 2022 with Chinese startup Origin Quantum looking to explore the use of quantum computing to free up computational bottlenecks facing 5G and 6G technologies, according to Reuters.
The news that China Telecom is investing in quantum may concern security officials and cybersecurity experts in western governments. The company was accused of diverting internet traffic in Canada and the United States in 2016, according to the Globe and Mail. The NYSE also delisted China Telecom after an executive order.