China plans $3 billion supercomputing centre to analyse data from space

A motorcyclist passes a model of Planet Earth at a space science museum in Wenchang, Hainan
A motorcyclist passes a model of Planet Earth at a space science museum in Wenchang, Hainan province, China November 22, 2020. REUTERS/Tingshu Wang

April 20, 2021

BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s southern space port of Wenchang will build a $3 billion supercomputing centre by year-end to analyse data obtained from space, according to state media on Tuesday.

With a planned investment of 20 billion yuan ($3.1 billion), the supercomputing centre will provide big data services for industries including the aerospace and marine sectors starting in 2022, state-backed Hainan Daily said.

In the next decade, China envisions massive constellations of commercial satellites that can offer services ranging from high-speed internet for aircraft to tracking coal shipments.

To meet the demand for satellite launches, China will have to build bigger rockets that can carry more satellites or build more launch sites, or both. China currently has four launch sites – three inland and one in Wenchang in Hainan province.

Earlier this month, the government said it was planning a new commercial space base in Hainan to meet growing demand for launches.

The government also supports Hainan in its international cooperation on launching commercial satellites and payloads, and research and development in commercial spaceflight.

($1 = 6.4933 yuan)

(Reporting by Liangping Gao and Ryan Woo; Editing by Stephen Coates)