Competition among the great powers to explore the moon and Mars gets the biggest headlines. Politics dominates news coverage about 5G roll-outs and the nasty fights between China and the United States. But what is perhaps equally significant yet less noticed in their high-stake, hi-tech rivalry, has been the contest for supremacy in satellite navigation systems and their global positioning and communication services. China has launched the 55th and final satellite of its BeiDou navigation system into orbit, completing the global communication network it has spent more than two decades building. It is billed as China’s answer to the US global positioning system, commonly known as GPS, and most of the latest home-made smartphones can access both systems on the mainland. But besides the massive Chinese market, BeiDou is expected to serve as a primary positioning and communication system for Beijing’s ambitious Belt and Road Initiative linking countries and economies in Africa, Central Asia, the Middle East and Europe. These interlocked economies with two-thirds of humanity will benefit from China’s state-of-the-art telecoms technologies in 5G and a fully integrated satellite network. China ‘becoming true space power’ as satellite launch completes BeiDou system BeiDou is expected to be as good as or even more accurate than GPS and the other systems, the European Union’s Galileo, Russia’s Glonass and one being developed by India. Its users can access high-accuracy navigation, positioning and timing as well as communication services. Originally built for the Chinese military, the first BeiDou satellite entered orbit in 2000. The system started providing services to users in mainland China and the Asia-Pacific region in 2012. Global services were first rolled out at the end of 2018. Beijing is understandably proud and has called the latest and last launch a milestone in China’s quest to become “a major space power”. But the system’s real significance lies on Earth. With rising geopolitical tensions between China and the US, Washington has proved to be ruthless in curtailing or cutting off access for Chinese companies and researchers to various hi-tech fields. In this new hi-tech, cutthroat world, BeiDou will put China and its allied economies in good stead.