• China aims to offer global navigation coverage using the Beidou satellite system by 2020.

China aims to offer global navigation coverage using the Beidou satellite system by 2020. (Photo : Getty Images)

A spokesperson for the Beidou Navigation Satellite System announced on Wednesday that China eyes to launch 40 Beidou navigation satellites in the next five years, state-run Xinhua News Agency reported.

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The plan aims to support the government's global navigation and positioning network, the report said.

Beidou spokesperson Ran Chengqi also revealed that by the end of 2018, another 18 satellites will be launched for the group's navigation service.

Ran, who is also the director of the China Satellite Navigation Office, said that the group's positioning accuracy inside China has already reached five meters. The feat comes along with the enhancement of a software algorithm and the development of other technology.

In previous reports, China originally planned to unveil a complete Beidou system composed of 35 satellites by year 2020. The network was aimed at providing global coverage with a positioning accuracy of less than 10 meters and a timing accuracy of 20 nanoseconds.

On Monday, the country also launched a new-generation satellite into orbit, the 21st in the Beidou Navigation Satellite System.

The first 16 satellites were only capable of giving China-wide and nearby-region coverages. The 17th, which was launched in March last year, helped the network provide a global coverage.

According to the article, the 21st satellite, once in orbit, will join the four earlier new-generation satellites in testing inter-satellite crosslinks.

The five new-generation satellites will also form a navigation-signaling system geared toward establishing a framework and technical standards for future global coverage.

Moreover, the report noted that the country eyes to expand the services of its Beidou satellites to majority of the countries included in its landmark "Belt and Road" initiative by 2018.

In five years' time, China is set to offer global coverage, the Xinhua article added.

Since the launch of the Beidou satellite system, it has already created a revenue worth $31.5 billion for major companies in the country as of 2015. Beidou launched commercial operations over two years ago.