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Space companies invited to set up in ‘valley of satellites’ located in former Covid hot zone

The Chinese government is offering companies involved in the manufacture of spacecraft, rockets and satellites a hefty financial incentive to relocate to Wuhan, seeking to reinvent the city as a “valley of satellites” by 2025. 

Wuhan announced the official launch of its plans to turn the city into a $15.7 billion (100 billion yuan) space industry hub in a notice published on Wednesday, offering companies up to $7.88 million (50 million yuan) each in financial incentives should they choose to move their headquarters to the central Chinese location.

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China hopes to become a major space power by the end of the decade, with plans to launch clusters of commercial satellites capable of delivering high-speed internet, tracking commodity shipments, and other purposes. Companies that locally source more than 10% of the production of high-orbiting and low-orbiting satellites and spacecraft can receive up to $2.36 million (15 million yuan) in financial incentives, while those that use more than 30% local products stand to receive up to $7.88 million (50 million yuan).

Wuhan wouldn’t be China’s first space-focused site, as last year saw Shenzhen dangle 300 million yuan in incentives for satellite development and related industries. Beijing also plans to construct a commercial spaceport at Hainan, a southern island province currently being developed as a “world tourism capital” as well as a working space harbor. The site is the only place in China where conditions permit the launch of China’s largest rocket, the 60.7m CZ-7A, as well as the commercial CZ-8, CZ-5 and CZ-5B. Ningbo, a port city in Zhejiang province, is being developed as China’s fifth rocket launch site.

READ MORE: China’s space station means lift-off on a new battle for the galaxy… and just like on Earth, Beijing has America worried

Becoming known as China’s “valley of satellites” might help Wuhan’s reputation, which has suffered through its association with the novel coronavirus that emerged at the end of 2019. While subsequent investigation has cast doubt on the notion that the virus actually came from Wuhan, the city and the pathogen are permanently linked in the minds of the media and many American politicians.

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