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A rival global positioning system developed by China that competes against the U.S. GPS satellites to provide navigation and positioning services. Beidou is the Chinese name for the North Star which has been used for centuries as a navigation position reference due to its constant position over the North Pole. The Beidou system will use 35 satellites compared to the 24 satellites used originally by the U.S. GPS system.

The first phase of Beidou went into operation on December 27, 2011 for parts of the Asia Pacific. The complete system will go into operation by 2020 to cover the entire world. The system will provide positioning service to a variety of sectors including fisheries, meteorology and telecommunications.

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