Chinese telecommunications company China Telecom is investing 3 billion Yuan ($434 million) in a new quantum computing division, according to a statement on its WeChat account. The division, named China Telecom Quantum Information Technology Group, will be situated in the eastern province of Anhui in China and will focus on developing quantum technology.
Quantum computing is often touted as the next big advancement in computational power. Although it is still in early stages with limited reliability and functionality, many telcos are maneuvering to position themselves at the forefront of the rapidly emerging sector.
The list of telcos showing interest in quantum computing keeps growing. Vodafone and IBM have been collaborating to explore not only the potential benefits of quantum computing, such as curing diseases and solving complex economic issues, but also to protect networks from the threats posed should the technology fall into malicious hands.
BT has also expressed the belief that quantum computing will bring about significant changes to both the telecoms industry and broader society. The company is currently working on projects in the quantum computing space. Deutsche Telekom’s IT subsidiary, T-Systems, announced in March its goal of lowering the barriers to quantum computing by offering customers cloud-based access to IBM’s Eagle processor, touted as the most powerful quantum processor to date.
In a similar vein, Ericsson has partnered with the University of Ottawa and the Université de Sherbrooke to establish a new quantum research hub in Montreal. The hub will develop quantum-based algorithms to accelerate processing in telecom networks and distributed quantum computing.
Given this context, it is hardly surprising that Chinese telco firms are also seeking to enter the quantum computing arena. This move comes as tensions between China and the US continue to escalate, with a growing divide in technological research between the East and West becoming increasingly apparent.