Huawei bringing 5G network to China's offshore aquaculture sector

Chinese telecoms equipment firm Huawei is bringing 5G technology to offshore aquaculture, helping to meet government goals of increasing output while also turning the farms into a major tourist attraction. 

Authorities in Rongcheng have this week been touting “China’s first 5G fish farm,” equipped with real-time camera technology allowing visitors a 3D experience of underwater life. The technology is also helping assist with feed management. Huawei has installed the systems in cooperation with Weihai Mobile off the coast of Rongcheng city in Shandong Province, a hot-bed of what’s termed locally as the “marine ranching” sector.  

Tourists pay to take boat trips to aquaculture farms off the coast of Rongcheng to see the deep-water facilities, feed the fish, and – for an extra fee – catch the fish themselves. Local firms including the Xunshan Group (which specializes in pufferfish production for the lucrative Japanese dining market both at home and in Japan), have worked with Rongcheng city government on increasing tourism to its distinctive yellow aquaculture platforms.

Traditional aquaculture and fishing in Rongcheng and other coastal regions has been squeezed by increased enforcement of environmental regulations and fishing moratoriums, forcing government to create new jobs in areas such as tourism. Rongcheng claims the “leisure fishing” side of the industry was worth CNY 2.5 billion (USD 362 million, EUR 324.6 million) to the city in 2018 – a figure incorporating cash spent and incomes generated locally.

Buoyed by the success, the city government is working with major local firms and fishing cooperatives to build nine “leisure fishing” platforms this year alongside seven “national-level demonstration” deep-water offshore aquaculture facilities and seven more “provincial-level” platforms farming various species.

Local authorities across China have been rushing to create and market tourist attractions as the tourism and leisure sector becomes a driver of China’s economy. Overseas spending by Chinese tourists exceeded USD 250 billion (USD 36.2 billion, EUR 32.4 billion) in 2018, prompting local governments to create more attractions at home.

The 5G fish farm project would not be Huawei’s first foray into seafood. The telecoms firm has been advising China’s aquaculture sector on how to improve the efficiency and profitability of feeding stocks. It has also promoted its “Solarfusion” and “Solar-Fish-Complementarity” networking services, which manage electricity generation from solar panels installed in aquaculture facilities, while also managing feed and water circulation.


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