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0019b93bd68d0f06155a01.gif (Photo : www.images.china.cn)

Smartphones will soon be able to support both the Global Positioning System and the Beidou Navigation Satellite System as a Chinese tech firm developed a more efficient microchip. 

The previous chips using the Chinese navigation system were not practical in terms of size and power consumption.

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The Beidou system has been promoted for civilian use since 2010 by the Shanghai Science and Technology Commission, which also supports local technology firms in the research and development of Beidou chips.

The new 40-nanometer chip was introduced by the Shanghai Beiga Satellite Technology Co. during a conference.

"The 40-nanometer chip is the most popular size in current smartphones and we only spent over a year to catch up with global leading technology," said Shanghai Beiga general manager Wang Yongping.

Wang also added that smartphone functionality will improve due to the two navigation systems existing in one microchip.

The Shanghai-based tech firm collaborated with ZTE, a Chinese multinational smartphone maker, and the trial results with 50 phones were satisfactory, according to Wang.

Some local smartphone makers are already using the chip in their mobile phones and ZTE will be mass producing smartphone models with the 40-nanometer chip next year, Wang said.

Samsung and Qualcomm Inc., both foreign tech firms, will also be introducing phones featuring the Beidou system.

According to Wang, Beiga is also working on perfecting the Beidou-based automobile navigation system so that it will be able to give precise directions to drivers.

The first Beidou system satellite was launched by China in 2000. It was initially used for weather forecasts, disaster relief work and traffic control since 2003.

The system now has 16 satellites up and running, with 40 more to be launched within the next decade, where it will be able to cover the whole globe. Beidou has been utilized by users in the Asia-Pacific since 2012.