By Casey Hall
SHANGHAI (Reuters) – China Telecom has invested 3 billion yuan ($434 million) to establish the China Telecom Quantum Information Technology Group Co., it said in a statement on its official WeChat account Tuesday.
The new entity, to be based in the eastern Chinese province of Anhui, will focus on developing quantum technology, stepping up the pace of quantum product updates and promoting the industry nationwide, the statement said.
The investment marks the latest move by a Chinese telecommunications giant to try to tap into quantum technology and reflects Beijing’s ambition to pull ahead in the global race to harness the power of quantum computing.
“[This] is a practical action to thoroughly study and implement the spirit of General Secretary Xi Jinping’s important instructions on the development of quantum technology,” China Telecom said in its statement.
Governments and companies around the world for years have touted the potential of quantum computing – a form of very high-speed calculation using sub-atomic particles at extraordinarily cold temperatures – to help solve complex statistical problems.
China Telecom’s move comes after China Mobile, the world’s largest telecom carrier with 900 million mobile subscribers, last December signed a deal with Chinese startup Origin Quantum looking to use quantum computing to overcome computational bottlenecks facing 5G and 6G technologies.
Current real-world applications in quantum computing are still very basic and limited to a small group of clients.
Global governments and companies will invest around $16.4 billion in quantum development by the end of 2027, according to market researcher IDC.
($1 = 6.9121 Chinese yuan)
(Reporting by Casey Hall; Editing by Sonali Paul)
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