Photo taken on Feb. 28, 2018 shows a remote controlled robot based on 5G technologies jointly released by China's telecom giant Huawei, China Mobile and ABB Group during the 2018 Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona, Spain.
Gone are the days when Chinese people wait in long lines at train stations for tickets home during festivals like the Chinese New Year -- now they buy tickets on smartphone applications at their fingertips.
Also, bicycles have become popular again in China thanks to the new shared bike initiative. Parked at designated areas on sidewalks, the bikes can be easily unlocked by scanning a QR code.
Such innovations are made possible thanks to the 4th Generation (4G) mobile networks, which have greatly increased the Internet speed and given birth to what has been known as the Internet-based "sharing economy."
Yet, 4G may soon be a thing of the past, as tech companies around the world compete to launch technological as well as market trials for devices compatible to the 5th Generation (5G) networks, whose mass adoption is expected to be in 2020 at the latest.
Given the significantly greater speed -- up to 10 gigabits per second -- that 5G offers, the next-generation ultra-fast networks will see our way of life change even more than in the 4G era, virtually in everything from how we "interact" with our cars to our homes.
CHINA JOINS TOP PLAYERS
The International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the Geneva-based affiliate of the United Nations that governs issues concerning information and communication technologies, has set 2020 as the target year for completing the international standardization of 5G technologies so as to pave the way for its mass adoption, according to a roadmap the ITU refers to as "IMT-2020."
However, there are signs that the ITU's timeframe may be too conservative, taking into consideration the boldness shown by international tech giants as they vie for dominance in the 5G industry at this early stage.
In a market environment already featuring fierce competition, Chinese telecommunications companies are not only active participants, but also rising stars among the top ranks.
For example, ZTE unveiled the prototype of its 5G-compatible phone at this year's Mobile World Congress (MWC) held between Feb. 26 and March 1 in Barcelona, Spain.
Headquartered in southern China's Shenzhen city -- which has become a hub of the country's digital economy in recent years -- the company said it is working on commercializing a range of 5G products by the end of this year.
Also at the just-concluded MWC, Huawei, now a world leading telecommunications equipment manufacturer, presented what it claimed to be the world's first commercial chipset that meets the standards of 5G networks.
Having showcased altogether 20 new products, the company reaped eight "Global Mobile Awards" at the international gathering, all of them honoring its achievements in 5G technologies.
"Huawei began its research and development (R&D) on 5G in 2009, and in 2018 we have 30 pre-commercial trials across Asia, Europe and the Americas," Joe Kelly, vice president of Huawei's international media affairs, told Xinhua. He said the company will implement some of its first commercial contracts for 5G products this year.