Most Chinese users won’t have to lift a finger to take advantage of the new network. About 70 percent of Chinese smartphones already support Beidou, according to Nikkei. There are already 120 partners lined up to use Beidou for mapping technology.
As with Russia’s GLONASS, China’s push for self-developed navigation is all about independence. The US runs GPS, and that gives it the option of disabling access in the name of its political and military interests. Beidou ensures that location services continue unhindered, and gives China positioning that goes well with emerging technology like 5G and self-driving cars.