Asia - a key market for Galileo

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 Asian 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 area covered by is a manufacturing centre for GNSS downstream equipment
  • These 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 area covered by 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 that area than in other regions of the world.

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 area covered by 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 and engineering 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 area covered by 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 this area that is likely to be the number one region, also because users in Japan, Korea and co. are considered as "mobile phone addicts". 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 this 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.

Mobil Phone penetration

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

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.

The large relevance of European GNSS in Asian region is illustrated by the fact that a large number of contributions in the European Satellite Navigation Competition stem from Asian economies, e.g. Taiwan has actively participated for many years in the contest. is funded by the European Union within Horizon 2020, the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation, under grant agreement no 641615.