(Yicai Global) Jan. 14 -- The latest US export ban of geospatial imagery software could provide new opportunities for Chinese firms in the long-run, according to industry insiders.
In the short-term, the limit still restricts the Chinese geographic information system sector, the experts told Yicai Global. The related software is necessary in remote sensing, autonomous cars, and drone navigation.
China's GIS market is expected to expand by 20 percent to exceed CNY1 trillion (USD145.2 billion) this year, according to Chyxx.Com. It was worth CNY761.6 billion (USD110.6 billion) in 2018, multiplying about three times since 2013.
The Trump administration implemented a new rule on Jan. 6 so that geospatial imagery software makers need to secure a special permit to sell their products in other countries, except for Canada, in order to keep the sensitive technologies on the home turf.
California-based Environmental Systems Research Institute's geographic information system ArcInfo has been available in China for 30 years so the purchasing ban will not please the users, some of which are government agencies, said a GIS expert.
"Fortunately, some local GIS companies already have a certain degree of competitiveness," said the same expert. SuperMap Software's SuperMap GIS and Wuda Geoinformatics's GeoStar are some of the local platforms but the domestic ecosystem of integrating software and operating systems is not comprehensive enough, the person added.
However, those that grasp the momentum could become the first movers in a lucrative sector. Even ESRI has not made significant progress in the field of AI, an expert pointed out. But China has the hunger to turn its visions of connected cars into reality.
AI and deep learning are bringing infinite opportunities to the remote sensing and geographic information sector, said Song Changqing, DigitalGlobe's head of China. The future direction of the field is increasing the accuracy of mapping to respond to the autopilot sector's demand, Song added. That means that the country that has its own alternatives to Facebook and Google is on the lookout for another ESRI.
Editor: Emmi Laine