China’s Space Sector: Commercialisation with Chinese Characteristics

China’s Space Sector: Commercialisation with Chinese Characteristics [Apr/2021]

In April 2021, Blaine Curcio, Founder of Orbital Gateway Consulting, Senior Affiliate Consultant at Euroconsult and Author of Euroconsult China Space Industry Report, presented “Private Investment in the Chinese Space Sector” to ESA.

The Chinese space sector has seen a lot of commercialisation over the past 7 years, with well over 100 companies created, and around ¥40B (US$6.5B) raised by Chinese commercial space companies. This represents a small percentage of the US$35B in annual revenues of the country’s state-owned space industry giants CASC and CASIC, but the figures are rising and support for commercialisation is growing.

Around half of funding has gone to launch companies, with China being home to more than 15 commercial launch companies focusing on either turnkey rocket products or, in some cases, advanced liquid methalox engines or other technology. EO and satellite manufacturing have each seen nearly 20% of the total funding, for more than US$1B each over the past 7 years. Satellite manufacturing has seen an acceleration since early 2020 when China’s NDRC added “satellite internet” to its new infrastructures list, providing increased support.

Funding has come from private VCs, other commercial firms, and importantly, provincial governments. China has seen ~ten space industry industrial park-type developments spring up over the past 5-7 years.

China’s commercial space industry is therefore driven by a complex mix of incentives and stakeholders. Standalone technologies have proven relatively easy for Chinese commercial companies to advance, but integrated systems - i.e. LEO mega constellations - will be less easy. The industry is certain to grow in the coming years, and is certain to develop in a distinct way.

To access the presentation and more detailed information, please here.

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