Facilitating EU-Asia industrial cooperation on satellite navigation applications

Galileo in India

Due to its sheer size, the Asian market is of high importance for every product and/or service, which aims to be successful on the worldwide market. Galileo, which is to be placed as THE worldwide civilian GNSS standard is no exception. In particular, the G5 economies are of strategic interest for the European GNSS for the main following reasons:

  • They represent a unique region, especially as it is (to be) served by several GNSS
  • The G5 area is a manufacturing centre for GNSS downstream equipment
  • These five economies are home to chipsets serving mass markets in GNSS
  • They feature a proximity to markets with high GNSS affinity and enormous growth rates

The following figure depicts the average number of visible navigation satellites worldwide - the G5 area sticks out by its high GNSS concentration, due to dedicated GNSS as well as navigation systems, whose roll-out is planned to start earlier in the G5 area than in other regions of the world.

Visible satellites

Visible satellites Average Number of Visible Satellites across all Planned Constellations (Dempster & Rizos, 2009)

The first decade of the 21st century has seen China and the G5 region turning more and more into the world's workbench. The reasons for this trend are manifold, but the key factors relate to globalisation, cheap labour forces and the increasing technological capabilities in these countries. For this - and additional reasons - Japan, Korea, China, Taiwan and India have managed to establish themselves as the production centres for consumer electronics. Based on this, there is no reason to believe why GNSS downstream equipment, which represents a certain type of consumer electronic - will not follow that trend as well. Therefore one can expect that the G5 region will play an - if not THE MOST - important role for the manufacturing of GNSS downstream equipment.

Similar considerations prevail for the chipsets, which are produced to serve mass markets in GNSS. Again, it is the G5 area that is likely to be the number one region, also because Japan, Korea and co. are "mobile phone addicted". In this region it is a custom to use the mobile phone excessively, for all sorts of applications, be it texting, chatting, emailing, video and music streaming, etc. One does not need to be too visionary to assume that GNSS applications will see a first major roll-out in the G5 region, especially because of the size of the market, the innovation friendliness and the fact that numerous chipset firms are producing in the region, to serve the GNSS mass markets. The figure below outlines a forecast of the GNSS penetration within mobile phones and compares this forecast for different markets.

Mobile Phone penetration

 GNSS Penetration in Mobile Phones in Different Markets (Source: GSA’s GNSS Market Report)

Thus the G5 region features a proximity to and/or represents markets with high GNSS affinity and enormous growth rates for all the point discussed in the sections before. Both the size and growth rate of this region, as well as its GNSS affinity make it a key market to be addressed early on, especially if one wants to obtain synergies with adapted roll-outs in other corners of the world.

Galileo Masters, a competition that provides an excellent platform to promote the awareness and use of satellite navigation, as well as offer a creative spark for a wide range of unique applications for the European GNSS programmes is already present in Asia and in particular in Taiwan. Considerations of expanding the competition in other Asian countries are under way, thus opening one more possibility of boosting the development of GNSS applications in the G5 region.


GNSS.asia project is funded by the European Union within the Seventh Framework Programme under grant agreement no 287244.